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44 Well, suppose you could do as you pleased, what 

then ? ' ' he went on with a touch of cynicism. 

FRONTISPIECE. See page 74. 



Granite and Clay 



^^Tl 



By SARA WARE BASSETT 



AUTHOR OF 

"Flood Tide," "The Harbor Road," "The Wall Be- 
tween," "Taming of Zenas Henry," etc. 





A. L. BURT COMPANY 
Publishers New York 

Published by arrangement with Little, Brown and Company 
Printed in U. S. A. 







" .*. 

V * 



'j 

-S ' ' 




Copyright, 1922, 
BY SARA WARE BASSETT. 



rights reserved 



Published August, 1022 
Reprinted November, 1922 




PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AUEKICA 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I THE TROTH . i 

II THE OLD CAP'N . 7 

III PENELOPE 16 

IV TIDINGS FROM OVER SEAS . . . . . 26 

V A VOICE FROM THE BEYOND . . . . . 35 

VI THE SPECTER APPEARS ...... 45 

VII THE JUDGMENT OF PARIS 53 

VIII MARTHA'S PROPHECY is FULFILLED . . 61 

IX A WAY OUT OF A DILEMMA 69 

X PENELOPE MAKES THE PLUNGE .... 80 

XI THE TRIUMPH OF PENELOPE .... 91 

XII A RED-LETTER DAY 99 

XIII TANGLED WEBS 113 

XIV PEGGY .. 122 

XV A DISCOVERY 134 

XVI THE VICTOR 143 

XVII AN UNEXPECTED MEETING . . . . . 157 

XVIII A HAZARD . 165 

XIX MASKED FACES 178 

XX PENELOPE'S DECISION 190 

XXI AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER 202 

XXII MORE WEBS 213 

XXIII CAPTAIN JABEZ'S PLANS Go AWRY . . . 223 

XXIV THE ANGEL OF DELIVERANCE .... 235 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XXV FREEDOM AND ITS PRICE ...... 242 

XXVI A CLEW TO THE MYSTERY 253 

XX\ T II SIDELIGHTS 261 

XXVIII FACE TO FACE 271 

XXIX AN ALLIANCE 283 

XXX CAPTAIN JABEZ MAKES A MISTAKE . . 291 

XXXI A DAY DREAM ........ 300 



GRANITE AND CLAY 



GRANITE AND CLAY 



CHAPTER I 

THE TROTH 

IT was December. 

The plumes of the pines, etched black against a flaming 
orange sunset, sparkled with the gems of a newly fallen 
snow. Luminous white made light the forest, throwing 
into cameo-like relief each obscure beauty and blemish 
of the woodland and transforming into sharply defined 
silhouettes the skeleton tracery of tree, branch, and every 
tiny growing thing. 

Through the tangle of stunted fir and oak a path 
threaded its way, a path that rose and dipped with the 
sandy country until it seemed almost a part of the un- 
dulating ocean that leaped to meet it. This path linked 
the hamlet of Belleport with the seacoast, and moving 
along its sinuous windings, purpled into shadow by the 
waning day, came Penelope Turner, a buoyant figure 
stepping airily and leaving in the virgin snow small, clear- 
cut footprints. In and out the maze of undergrowth she 
moved, the hush of the snow, the peace of the twilight, 
the music of the surf about her. 

And yet for all the brooding solitude of the place, 
Penelope was not alone. Rapidly blotting out her tracks 
beneath a stride, speedy and determined, a man in khaki 
hastened after her. 

" Penelope ! " he called. " Penelope ! " 



2 GRANITE AND CLAY 

He need not have spoken twice, for the name echoed 
resonantly on the quiet air, putting to flight the fancies 
that intrigued the girl and causing her to wheel about 
and stand waiting. 

" Dick ! " 

" I spied you across the fields the moment I left the 
train and followed you," panted the soldier as he reached 
her side. " Are you surprised to see me? ; 

' How could I be anything but surprised ? ! 

He laughed boyishly. 

" I got the chance to run back home for a week's fur- 
lough/' explained he, the words tripping eagerly from his 
tongue. " We go across this month." 

"To France? Dick!" 

"Great luck, isn't it? Hundreds of men would give 
everything they possess to be in my shoes." His face 
glowed with excitement. " So before sailing I came 
back to see the folks and you," he added, his voice 
dropping to a caress. 

A pause fell between them. 

" You knew I'd come before I went, didn't you, 
Penelope? ' 

There was no answer but as she averted her head he 
saw a wave of color surge into her cheek. 

" I had to come," he rushed on. ' I just had to see 
you. I've thought of nothing but you ever since the day 
we said good-by on the station platform. There was 
something in your eyes then that made me suddenly won- 
der if you if you cared, Penelope if you could pos- 
sibly care. I didn't dare think so and yet the wild hope 
would persist. It has haunted, tormented me, every in- 
stant, and I couldn't go away without knowing/' 

He waited for some sign that she heard but the droop- 
ing head was not lifted ; nevertheless that she listened was 
betrayed by the quickened rise and fall of her breast and 



THE TROTH 3 

the intensity with which her white teeth caught and held 
her lower lip. 

"You think me mad, Penelope presumptuous 
and perhaps I am. I realize we know one another very 
little. But all that makes no difference. Only two 
things count : one is that I am going away, and the other 
is that I love you love you ! ' 

The phrase echoed vehemently in the stillness, 

" Probably it has all been a mistake my thinking you 
might feel as I do; and of course it is all right if you 
don't. I know I haven't much to offer a woman. Never- 
theless ' the words weakened and died away into un- 
certainty. 

Still she did not speak. They had slackened their pace 
and now stood in the path, she toying with the tip of a 
cedar spray and he nervously kicking the snow with his 
heavy boot. 

" You are not angry, Penelope ! ' he burst out at last, 
when he could endure the silence no longer. 

" Angry ! " 

With a swift gesture the girl raised her head, a glory 
of surrender shining in her eyes. 

" Penelope ! " 

Exultantly he caught her in his arms, bending low to 
let his lips rest against her hair and the warm hollow of 
her neck. So they stood motionless, wrapped about in 
the silence, heart throbbing against heart. 

Then presently Penelope drew shyly away. 

" So you do love me, sweetheart ? ' whispered the 
man, scanning with triumph her burning face. 

" Yes, Dick." 

She looked gravely up at him; then interpreting his 
start toward her stepped aside. 

"It is very wonderful, isn't it?' ventured she, with 
an unsteady little laugh. 



GRANITE AND CLAY 



1 It is a miracle ! ' 

He seized her hand and taking from it her heavy 
woolen glove crushed her fingers in his broad palm. 

" I know that with the thought of you ahead I can 
make my way," he declared. The war can't last long. 
We shall have the Germans on the run by the end of a 
few months and I shall be home again. You'll see then 
how I'll work. I'll slave day and night for you, Penel- 
ope." 

The earnestness and youthful egoism of his wooing 
was very appealing and the girl's eyes rested on him with 
tenderness and pride. 

" I wish I didn't have to leave you," he went on, once 
more holding her close against him. ' I thought if I 
just told you I loved you it would be easier to go 
away. But it isn't, it's harder now, a thousand times 
harder." 

' I wouldn't have you not go for anything in the 
world," interrupted Penelope. " Why, half that makes 
me so glad and proud is that you volunteered to go with- 
out being forced to do so. I wish I were a man ! ' 

' I'm almighty glad you're not," he laughed, his cheek 
brushing hers. " It's because you're just what you are 
that it is all so so " the halting sentence was lost in 
the pressure of his lips against hers. 

The sun had gone now and shadows dimmed the wood 
until only the massed outlines of the pines bordering the 
footpath were visible. Hand in hand they walked along 
slowly, dreamily. Above them a pale star trembled, and 
the wind that barely stirred the trees bore on its fragrant 
breath a constantly deepening murmur of the sea. 

" I wonder what your people will say," mused Dick 
aloud. 

He felt her fingers close on his with an involuntary 
tremor. 



THE TROTH 5 

" You don't think they will object, do you? " he asked 
anxiously. 

"N-o; at least, I don't believe my aunts will," was 
the hesitating answer. 

"But Mr. Allen your grandfather?" 

I'm not so certain about Grandfather," replied she 
very slowly. " He has pretty positive ideas, you know, 
and " 

" He may feel I haven't any prospects," broke in the 
man, completing the unfinished argument. ' Or maybe 
you think he'll say I have no right to tie you up and go 
to France." 

' I can't predict what Grandfather will say," Penelope 
responded. : I only know that he's awfully fond of 
me " 

" Remarkable ! " 

" And that he wants me to be happy." 

" Also unoriginal." 

The smile acknowledging these jests was, however, a 
faint one. 

' Grandfather may decide that I'm that you're 
that we're too young," suggested the girl. 

r But good Heaven, Penelope ! You won't let his 
opinion come between us ! ' 

" N-o." 

" Promise me." 

" I promise." 

' Promise me with a kiss." 

She raised her arms, drawing his head down until his 
face touched hers. 

' I'm I'm a little afraid of your grandfather, sweet- 
heart," confessed her lover dubiously. 

' So am I, Dick," the girl owned. " I guess almost 
everybody is. But for all that he is very splendid, and 
he loves me." 



6 GRANITE AND CLAY 

' As I do only not half so much ! " cried the soldier 
with rapidly rising passion. f I'll have you, too, Penel- 
ope- -aunts or no aunts, and in spite of all the Captain 
Jabez Aliens that ever lived/' 

Yet notwithstanding the sanguine assertion, a cloud 
of apprehension flitted over the youthful countenance 
making it apparent that affirm as strongly as he might 
Dick Morton deemed the antagonist he must confront no 
mean opposer. 

And well might he feel trepidation. Captain Jabez 
Allen was a person before whom many another in Belle- 
port older and more authoritative than Dick had quailed 
and shown the white feather. 



CHAPTER II 

THE OLD CAP'N 

CAPTAIN JABEZ ALLEN, known to all Belleport as well 
as the outlying community as * the Old Cap'n," was in 
reality far from being old. His seventy years rested 
like thistledown on his shoulders which were as square 
and erect as in the days when he had paced the deck of 
the Flying Cloud and ordered her crew in ringing tones 
to haul up the sheet anchor. Men under his command 
had unfailingly recognized the timbre of authority in 
his voice and had leaped to obey him; and ever since, 
both on sea and shore, the Old Cap'n's word had been 
law to whomsoever came within echo of its sharp 
cadences. 

His daughters Martha and Elizabeth, middle-aged 
spinsters who since the death of his wife had kept house 
for him, never questioned his mandates but with a docile 
" Yes, Father," meekly assented to whatever he decreed. 
Neither of them would any more have thought of mak- 
ing a suggestion at variance with his wishes than she 
would of leaping into the surf that boomed up against 
the sands almost beneath the window. There was one 
will in the Allen household and that was the Old Cap'n's. 
At least there had been only one until the coming of 
Penelope. 

Penelope Turner, hazel-haired revolutionist of six 
years, had arrived on a sunny June day many years ago. 
In a travel-stained wagon drawn by a lean gray horse 



8 GRANITE AND CLAY 

she had driven from the tip end of the Cape and been 
delivered over to her grandfather by a dusky Portuguese 
woman. Her advent had not been unheralded, how- 
ever, for ever since the tidings of John Turner's death 
had been received the Aliens had been awaiting her ar- 
rival. Had the truth been known Martb i and Elizabeth 
had watched with no small measure of trepidation the 
crest of the hill where the road wound between low walls 
of pines and dipped among roses and sweet fern into the 
hollow of sand that bordered the bay. As for the Old 
Cap'n, if he felt any deep concern regarding his unknown 
grandchild, he at least contrived to concea' the fact from 
his daughters. It was he who had ordained that the 
little one should come and he was not a person to go 
tack on a decision when once he had mad ; it. 

Of course Penelope might have gone to fohn Turner's 
sister who owned a tiny farm at Bridgewal ~. She knew 
well that the Old Cap'n had never san on~d his daugh- 
ter Mary's marriage with her brother. Nevertheless, al- 
though she had offered to give the girl ^ home, she was 
none too eager to add another child to the brood that 
was even now fast outgrowing the diminutive house. 
She had been fond of John, however, and was too con- 
scientious to permit his offspring to become a suppliant 
for charity. But the offer had been as promptly declined 
as made. Penelope's grandfather preferred to- take her 
and he requested that there should be no further argu- 
ment about it. There was none. Ellen Clayton was 
only too thankful to be relieved of a responsibility she 
could ill afford to assume. If the Aliens were willing 
to look out for the waif so much the better. Indeed, 
Ellen had half expected that such would be the outcome, 
for whatever else the Old Cap'n might be (and to his 
disobedient daughter he had certainly proved an unre- 
lenting parent) he had the reputation of b-'ng honorable 



THE OLD CAP'N 9 

to the letter and living up to a cast-iron code of ethics. 

Possibly pride, which was a fundamental of his char- 
acter, had prompted these sharply defined standards of 
right and wrong; or perhaps, on the other hand, his 
credo was the heritage from a rigid Puritan ancestry. 
Whatever the source of his inexorable Cromwellian pre- 
cepts the Old Cap'n was endowed with basic religious 
scruples from which his conscience permitted no devia- 
tion. He seldom talked about them, it is true, but like 
a shimmer of gold they shone through his every act, in- 
spiring a confidence toward him that few persons in the 
town could boast. As a result he had been made senior 
deacon of the small white Congregational church that 
fronted the village green; and he it was who kept the 
key to the building, rang the bell on Sunday, and carried 
home in a covered basket the silver communion service. 
He also had charge of the scanty funds of the society 
and passed the plate at divine worship, money being as 
safe in his hands, the village affirmed, as in the hands 
of the Lord himself. 

The same, alas, could not have been said of every resi- 
dent of Belleport, for there were those in the community 
who had slipped from grace and followed after strange 
gods or no gods at all. But amid the muck of things 
the Old Cap'n's morals remained adamantine; and if the 
piercing blue eyes and thin lips bespoke a New England 
niggardliness, as was generally acceded, with equal jus- 
tice public opinion agreed that ever}^ human being had 
his limitations. For example, the Old Cap'n saw no rea- 
son why he should not hold a flaw toward himself and 
auction off a cracked pitcher to Martin Eldridge if Mar- 
tin had not the enterprise to come forward from under 
the shady tree where he was indolently seated and in- 
spect his purchase. In fact, Captain Jabez had even 
chuckled at his dupe's complaints and declared it served 



10 GRANITE AND CLAY 

him right, as no doubt it did. Deacon though he was, 
Jabez Allen had many such a transaction to his credit 
and far from blushing for it he rather prided himself 
on his reputation for shrewdness. Nor was he a merci- 
ful creditor. He would have his full pound of flesh 
every time. 

On the other hand, nothing would induce him to take 
a cent more than was his due. Once, when the widow 
Bearse had sent him her rent and he had discovered 
eleven cents too much in the envelope, he had plodded 
two miles in the blazing sun to return the excess pennies. 
Yet, scrupulous as was this honesty, it did not prevent 
him from driving the sharpest bargain possible on every 
occasion. A business deal, contended he, was a matching 
of wits; and if his wit was keener than the other fel- 
low's, as it usually proved to be, why Captain Jabez 
shrugged his shoulders and smiled a dry smile. 

It was chiefly because John Turner had been born with 
such a scant measure of this commercialism that the Old 
Cap'n had objected to' his wedding Mary. John Turner 
was every man's prey. He was a dreamer, a penniless, 
improvident soul who trusted that the good God who 
had made him would befriend him should he deliver over 
his last farthing to another who needed it more ; or spend 
it for a book of verses or a bit of artistic pottery. 
Beauty was more to him than food or raiment and as a 
result he had come to man's estate with scarce a copper 
in his pocket. A lovable, easy-going fellow was John, 
with a shock of tawny hair sweeping his forehead, and 
gentle eyes beautiful as a deer's in their softness. The 
Old Cap'n scornfully adjudged that he had no force, 
which perhaps was true. Nevertheless there had been in 
him some quality strong and persistent enough to lure 
from her home Mary Allen, who never before had lifted 
up her voice against her father or defied his will. 



THE OLD CAP'N 11 

How she had fled with her lover had caused a pretty 
scandal in tranquil Belleport. It had furnished the town 
with gossip for weeks. People had looked askance at 
Captain Jabez, yet not one individual had had the temer- 
ity to mention the catastrophe to him when he came 
striding down the village street with his chin in the air, 
his shoulders squared, and his steely blue eyes looking 
straight before him; and strangely enough, during all 
the years that had rolled by since, nobody had ever sum- 
moned nerve enough to refer to the tragedy. 

A rumor that Mary Allen and John Turner had sub- 
sequently been married at Provincetown had filtered into 
Belleport, and later had come tidings of a child's birth, 
but that was all. There were those who whispered that 
Mary had bitterly regretted the ill-advised step which she 
had taken; that she lived in constant want, and that the 
slender income maintaining the family was due to her 
efforts; then there was an opposing faction who asserted 
with equal confidence that, although poor, Mary Allen 
was radiantly happy in the choice she had made. Which- 
ever the true version of the drama, certain it was that 
she starred in it but a brief time, for before the end of 
a short span of years both she and the hero of her ro- 
mance were drowned when a little skiff in which they 
were sailing had overturned amid the breakers that 
fretted the shores of Provincetown harbor. As a result 
the six-year-old Penelope had been cast upon the mercies 
of the world and her grandfather, Jabez Allen. 

All that had happened long ago and the girl, now al- 
most twenty, was probably the only creature in the world 
who knew the gentler side of the Old Captain's stern 
nature and regarded him without awe. Her power lay 
in the ingenuous manner in which she had begun. No 
precedent had hampered her; she recognized no tradi- 
tions of strict obedience to this lord of the community. 



12 GRANITE AND CLAY 

The afternoon of her arrival she had disturbed the rhyth- 
mic beats of her grandfather's daily program by in- 
terrupting his two o'clock nap, and ever since that time 
she had continued to interfere with him without scruple. 

Not that she did this wittingly. No, indeed! With 
the supreme ignorance and audacity of youth she merely 
rushed in where angels had feared to tread, and so aston- 
ished and charmed was Captain Jabez by her daring that 
without argument he had capitulated. No one else had 
ever presumed to rumple up his hair or laugh at him, 
much less rifle his pockets. The august old gentleman 
was at a loss as to how to conduct himself in the pres- 
ence of treatment such as this. And although he would 
not have owned it, no power on earth could make of the 
first time he had been jauntily kissed on the top of his 
head anything but a bewildering experience. 

In the meantime Martha and Elizabeth regarded these 
feats with breathless wonder. Never had they dreamed, 
even in their infant days, of approaching their father so 
lightly. But Penelope, no respecter of persons, climbed 
unabashed upon his knee, playfully tilted back on his 
forehead the spectacles that graced his nose, and merrily 
set at naught his every command. Once when she had 
stolen up behind his chair and mischievously covered his 
eyes with her wee hands, Martha in consternation had 
called sharply to her to come away and not interrupt her 
grandfather's reading. Much to her astonishment, how- 
ever, the woman had received scant thanks in return for 
her altruism, for instead of applauding her act her father 
had rebuked her by the words, " Let the child alone, 
Martha! She's doin' no harm." 

Although it was not actually true that ever since that 
day Martha had nursed her injured dignity, nevertheless 
it was a fact that throughout the long years that followed 
she had to a certain extent heeded her father's injunction 



THE OLD CAP'N 13 

and beyond the trifling elementary discipline necessary 
had washed her hands of Penelope. In fact, neither she 
nor Elizabeth understood in the least the species of hu- 
manity which the Lord had seen fit to place in their midst. 

" The child is all Turner ! ' announced one of her 
aunts to the other. " There isn't a drop of Allen blood 
in her veins. I don't see what's goin' to become of her 
when she grows up." 

Well, she had grown up and despite the lugubrious 
prognostication, nothing very amazing had become of 
her save that from an angular child whose questioning 
eyes of jade green peered at one with disconcerting in- 
tensity from beneath a mop of thickly curling brown hair, 
she had developed into a creature of indefinable charm. 
She was not exactly pretty. Rather she was magnetic. 
There was grace in the proud poise of her head, in every 
movement of her slender form. When sudden emotion 
possessed her there was fascination in the swift dilation 
of her eyes, in the quiver of her nostrils, and in the ca- 
dence of her voice, imperious and caressing by turns. 
The fact that her smile came rarely rendered it more po- 
tent, and because she liked best to be alone her infre- 
quently bestowed presence became a benefaction. Elu- 
sive as a coveted woodland flower, idealistic as a youth- 
ful poet, she was indisputably her father's daughter and 
day by day the much despised Turner qualities she pos- 
sessed continued to strengthen until she became John 
Turner over again. Surely the Old Captain must have 
recognized in her the characteristics he had so zealously 
derided and felt at times that Fate had played him an 
ironic trick to invest the idol of his existence with the 
very traits he detested and disapproved. Or was he so 
blinded by affection that he failed to see that life had 
beaten him at his own game? 

Every one in Belleport witnessed the paradox and cov- 



14 GRANITE AND CLAY 

ertly smiled. But if Jabez Allen resented the dealings 
of Providence he proudly locked within his breast any 
murmurs at the judgment the Almighty had meted out 
and tranquilly went his way. He let himself be tyran- 
nized over without protest and even regarded with tol- 
erance the books of poems, the bits of color, the masses 
of flowers that strayed into his home. Belleport whis- 
pered that the Old Cap'n was changed, that he had soft- 
ened and become more human; and on the strength of 
this information several wary souls who previously had 
feared to do business with him ventured timidly into such 
commercial enterprises. Alas, they speedily awakened 
to their mistake for however transformed Jabez Allen 
might be in the bosom of his own family with regard to 
the outer world he was quite as shrewd a dealer as of 
yore. The horse that Janoah Eldridge bought of him 
proved to be blind in one eye; and the clock he traded 
for Willie Spence's oars went only four days instead of 
seven. " A bargain's a bargain ! ' was all the satisfac- 
tion either of the unlucky purchasers obtained. 

Yet, for all that, Captain Jabez was a different man 
and no one was better aware of it than himself. A new 
gentleness had crept into his austere nature; a new un- 
selfishness into his heart. For the first time in his life 
he loved with an idolatry of which he trembled to think. 
Even his worship for his God, he owned with shame, 
was less fervid and intense than was his adoration for 
his grandchild Penelope. To give her happiness he 
would have bartered his immortal soul; and with the 
growth of his passion he began to understand Mary bet- 
ter and measure her conduct with a broader charity. It 
was, then, this magic force of loving that had bewitched 
her! If he with his adamantine will could not keep his 
footing against it how much less could a weak creature 
such as Mary ? Poor Mary ! Perhaps he had been hard 



THE OLD CAP'N 15 

on her. Of course he had been right. There could be 
no question about that. Still, he wished there yet re- 
mained a chance to temper justice with mercy and to 
bestow upon her the forgiveness he had so pitilessly 
denied. 

Well, her child remained to him, and be she what she 
might, the tolerance he had refused her mother he would 
show to her. If the Lord's punishment had taken the 
form of sending an incarnation of John Turner into his 
home he would accept the chastisement with meekness, 
rejoicing that it was not yet too late to prove his regrets 
for the past. Truly the ways of the Almighty were 
mysterious and beyond all fathoming. 

" Thy knowledge is too high ; I cannot attain unto it," 
murmured the defeated Jabez Allen. 



CHAPTER III 

PENELOPE 

PENELOPE TURNER lived in pictures. Against vary- 
ing artistic backgrounds she had from a child seen her- 
self as the chief character in a romantic drama. Now 
she reigned the* crowned queen among a band of dancing 
fairies; now. was rescued from sinking ships; now en- 
tered old feudal halls on the arms- of richly clad knights ; 
or with mirror in hand she slipped, a lithe mermaid, be- 
neath the scintillating emerald currents of the sea. Or 
perhaps she was a shepherdess on some green slope of a 
lonely mountain ; or a singer who astonished a spellbound 
world by her marvelous voice. Wherever she moved it 
was always among dreams and unrealities. The cavern- 
ous shif tings of a cloud bore her to mystic lands and on 
the curling foam of a wave she traveled in imagination 
around the universe. Strange music came to her with 
the zephyrs from the pines and with the lashing of the 
surf against the shore ; and in the brook's ripples and the 
flutter of the lilacs about the door, little songs reached 
her ear. A world was hers that was unseen by others, a 
world of epic and poetic beauty in which she was the 
dominating figure. 

As a child of eight she built sand castles on the beach 
castles glittering with gems and resplendent with jew- 
eled ramparts; she peopled them with lords and ladies 
and here she ruled in fantasy. Out of this era of ro- 
mance she emerged intcx girlhood and, although she no 



PENELOPE 17 

longer fashioned for herself transient kingdoms at the 
sea's- margin, in her mind she still reared structures as 
perishable, erecting them, dream upon dream, until they 
towered high as the dome of blue that arched the waste 
of waters lapping the thin arm of the Cape. Heroes 
now dwelt within her courts nay, one supreme hero, 
a knight or prince who, usurping the central place in her 
little dramas, had brought with him new and disquieting 
fancies and sensations that delighted even while they ter- 
rified. One never saw his face. Wrapped in a mantle 
of mystery he sped elusively before her. But he was 
always strong, brave, holy, -the instigator of noble 
deeds, the unconquerable who put all things beneath, his 
feet. She bent to his \vill and in her subjugation she 
rejoiced. 

Thus she had lived, playing the dual role of actor and 
spectator. 

Then came a day when suddenly she had beheld the 
hero of her imagination in the flesh, and romance had 
been transformed from a filmy fabric of the mind to 
breathing reality. Penelope was just twenty when the 
miracle took place. War had quickened into life the 
heroism that smoldered in all American manhood, and on 
every hand youth, with gaze fixed on a distant star, had 
leaped to exchange the weapons of peace for those of 
conflict. Belleport, tiny and remote as it was, caught 
the echoes of the world strife and the one young man 
eligible for duty rushed forward to offer himself for God 
and country. This was Richard Morton, Dick as he was 
familiarly called in the hamlet. He was a fisherman, an 
offshoot of the old Puritan stock, who had been born 
amid an environment of surging tides, shelving dunes, 
vistas of low pines, and the wheeling flight of broad- 
winged sea gulls. 

Until this great moment of tragedy no one in Belleport 



18 GRANITE AND CLAY 

had thought much about him. He had gone his unevent- 
ful way, doing his prosaic task with stolid fidelity and 
expecting neither recognition nor praise for his lowly 
services. If secretly he had ventured to lift his eyes in 
admiration toward Penelope Turner and covet her wom- 
anhood no one had detected his ambition least of all 
Penelope herself. And then had come the clarion sum- 
mons to war and Dick Morton, faithful to a few things, 
had, figuratively speaking, suddenly become ruler over 
many. So keen was his conscience, so genuine his pa- 
triotism, it never occurred to him to attach any great 
measure of merit to responding promptly and fearlessly 
to the call that resounded throughout the land; and it 
was not until he discovered himself to be invested with 
a glamor of veneration quite new that he realized the 
community regarded him as a hero. Men who had for- 
gotten he was in their midst now remembered him with 
hastily conceived affection and flocked about him, pouring 
out benedictions on his head. How they exulted in his 
Cape ancestry and boasted that he was a child of the 
village! How they dragged forth the pranks of his 
childhood, reviewing his past with tenderness and mold- 
ing into virtue his every vice ! 

Although bewildered, Dick nevertheless modestly ac- 
cepted the adulation offered him. He dutifully shook 
hands with persons he scarcely knew and permitted him- 
self to be kissed on the cheek by numberless ladies who 
pressed into his hands comfort bags, mufflers, mittens 
and socks. Among the throng who on the day of his 
departure assembled to bid him God-speed was Penelope 
Turner and he had been amazed to detect in her eyes a 
light that set his heart beating madly and the blood 
throbbing in his veins. 

And then he had gone away only to return months 
later an erect, soldierly figure in khaki. He had been 



PENELOPE 19 

granted a furlough before sailing for France and he had 
come home to Belleport to say good-by to the parents 
who dwelt in the weather-beaten cottage on the bay. If 
the memory of a girl's eyes had haunted him, mingling 
with this filial devotion and drawing him back to the 
little fishing hamlet with magnetic power, who could cen- 
sure him? Youth, love and conquest go hand in hand, 
with hope, like a will-o'-the-wisp, dancing ever before 
and beckoning them on. Motives are complex factors 
and often so deeply embedded in the subconsciousness 
that they defy analysis. In any case Dick came, and to 
Penelope he was the knight of her dreams setting forth 
for battle. To him she attributed myriad characteristics 
he, alas, had never possessed and which had their exist- 
ence only in her imagination. He was the Lohengrin, 
the Galahad, the spotless King Arthur. What he really 
was when stripped of all this tinsel Penelope could not 
have told, for although the two had lived for years in 
the same village the community was a widely scattered 
one and their previous acquaintance had been only of the 
most superficial type. Had she seen him dragging his 
dory along the sand or spreading his nets to dry on the 
beach she would probably have passed him with a curt 
nod. But now everything was changed. His heart 
might still in reality be stranger to her heart, his soul to 
her soul; it was enough that armed to do battle for his 
country he faced with dignity and courage the perils and 
uncertainties the veiled future held. In consequence he 
was all she had pictured a hero to be and she loved him. 
She must love him, she argued. Of course she did. He 
was her first wooer and a very ardent one, and the music 
of his pleading came like an echo* of that melody she had 
so often heard in her dreams. 

Once more, as if acting in a drama, she saw herself 
back amid the romantic imagery of her girlhood, the 



20 GRANITE AND CLAY 

adored of a blameless knight. And yet in spite of the 
consciousness she was not shamming. 

i 

Dreams are true while they last, 
And do we not live in dreams ? 

To Penelope the experience was one of the most gen- 
uine of her life. If there was unreality it lay in the hum- 
drum world about her, not in the realm of her imagina- 
tion. Nevertheless, in spite of her sincerity, she could 
not entirely lose her identity in the role she was playing 
or wholly detach herself from the spectators' attitude of 
mind. Even when, amid the throng of townsfolk that 
crowded the station platform she bade Dick farewell, her 
innate sense of the dramatic made her well aware of her 
actions and his, and a self entirely apart from the pretty 
pantomime watched the parting with an artist's 
satisfaction. 

During the days following his departure, when kindly 
neighbors offered their condolences at the absence of her 
lover, she still continued to live the part she had in fancy 
rehearsed. She greeted their queries blushingly and 
thanked them for their sympathy with such perfect pro- 
portions of shyness, pride, bravery and resignation that 
when the postmaster handed out a letter with a foreign 
stamp upon it and exclaimed, ' : I guess you'll be mighty 
glad to get this ! ' he thrilled with approval at the droop 
of her eyelids and the timid smile she flashed upon him. 
His enthusiasm was still in the ascendent when another 
customer entered and it led him to assert with conviction : 
' Penelope Turner got a letter from France this noon. 
That Dick Morton who's goin' to marry her is a lucky 
man the rascal ! ' 

Had he but known it these very letters which subse- 
quently came at irregular intervals and which he felt so 



PENELOPE 21 

certain must bring pleasure Were to Penelope the first sin- 
ister harbingers of an awakening. During their whirl- 
wind courtship she and Dick had exchanged few real 
opinions upon the graver things of life. Rather their 
conversation, if conversation it might be termed, had 
been made up of sensations, whispers, pauses, glances, 
caresses the thousand and one delicious devices lovers 
substitute for words. But now, with an ocean between 
them, all these pretty inventions were set at naught and 
it became necessary to put down in black and white what 
was in their minds and hearts, and great was the amaze- 
ment of each to know what the thought of the other ac- 
tually was. Making every allowance for the difficulties 
expression engendered, for haste, fatigue, and possible 
uncongenial surroundings, Penelope was grievously dis- 
appointed in the epistles her lover penned. 

They were immature, boyish letters filled with a jumble 
of new impressions. They told of great cities hitherto 
unseen, of vast ships, of feats of engineering, of the 
comradeship of man with man. Their lines teemed with 
the joy of adventure; and there were scraps of humor 
and ludicrous little pencil sketches of warriors weighed 
down like camels with every sort of burden. One would 
have had difficulty to discover either poetry or romance 
anywhere in their pages. Instead of being love letters 
they were nothing but a chronicle of the sane and healthy- 
minded reactions of a normal youth who had seen little 
of the world to a strange and novel universe. Hungrily 
Penelope read them, searching every sentence for the 
lover of her imagination but no trace of him could be 
found. Why, save for a word or two of affectionate 
farewell, these merry, friendly notes might have been ad- 
dressed to any one, to a man's mother, aunt, grand- 
mother ! 

In the meantime she wrote to him answers which, al- 



22 GRANITE AND CLAY 

though she did not suspect it, were quite as unsatisfying, 
rhapsodies on the sea, the clouds, the beatings of her 
heart, her loneliness, her love. In a far-away trench, 
thirsting for tidings of home and surrounded by grim 
and very real happenings, Dick Morton perused them and 
they contained an irritatingly flat sentimentality marked- 
ly at variance with the world in which he was moving. 
He liked sky, flowers and trees well enough but he could 
not read, much less write, reams about them. He would 
a thousand times rather have known whether the herring 
had begun to run in Eel River yet; how the bluenshing 
was ; and what his friends at home were doing. Such a 
letter as this, filled with town gossip, would have been 
a blessing in No Man's Land, a thing to* read and reread , 
But all this drool! 

Not that he was not genuinely fond of Penelope; on 
the contrary he was to a great extent still beneath the 
spell of her enchantment. He could see now the light 
in her haunting, gray-green eyes and feel the flutter of 
her delicate hands in his. A wooer was thrice blessed 
who won such a jewel. Nevertheless he could not con- 
tinuously keep step with the music to which she moved. 
If they were ever to be happy together they must get 
down to a plane more solid than clouds and sunsets. 
The world was a big place, far bigger than he had 
dreamed, and life a grim, gigantic business, not a 
dainty pastoral. He loved the fight of it. But how far 
away it made Belleport seem, and how small! And 
Penelope after all, what did he really know of Pen- 
elope? Well, concluded he with prosaic loyalty, there 
was nothing to be done but for them to get acquainted 
with the other's true personality. Everything would be 
sure to come out all right when he got home if he 
ever did. 

Meanwhile, in the distant, sea-circled hamlet he had 



PENELOPE 23 

left behind, Penelope was playing her part with equal 

sanguineness. Tirelessly she went to church, made dress- 
ings, rolled bandages, knit socks and sweaters. A mix- 
ture of pathos and courage, she was the ideal bethrothed 
of an absent soldier. The most critical judge could not 
have detected a flaw in her conduct. In fact, both her 
aunts were gratified beyond measure by her new woman- 
liness and dignity, for spinsters though they were, they 
'had their standards for love and romance and took, per- 
haps, even keener pleasure in both because they them- 
selves had been cheated of them. In fact, during Dick's 
brief courtship it had been amusing to see how these two 
gray-haired women circled about the lovers, softly clos~ 
ing doors at opportune moments and conducting a sign 
language behind their backs of which they were the in- 
nocent subjects. Two thin, gaunt creatures who had 
been starved for the fulfillment of womanhood until they 
had become quite sexless, they nevertheless had not en- 
tirely forgotten their youth and its visions. Fifty years 
of constant drudgery had worn Martha's tall and bony 
frame to angularity; thinned her hair; and given to her 
mouth a droop of patient resignation. She could not re- 
member the time when she had not scrubbed and scoured 
pans, washed floors, and cooked for her father. It was 
the life the Lord had meted out to her and docilely she 
accepted it, looking forward to no other. 

Of everything connected with a house she had made 
herself mistress. She not only knew how to bake and 
brew, how to can fruits and vegetables but on the tip of 
her tongue trembled the mystic formulae for removing 
every imaginable kind of blemish from every imaginable 
sort of fabric. The housewifely arts were in her blood. 
With noble brow, clear eyes, and the wiry frame that is 
the heritage of hard work, Martha Allen was the per- 
sonification of stern New Englandism. Yet with all her 



24 GRANITE AND CLAY 

fiintiness she was very human. Dearly she loved a bit 
of gossip; and if, stanch Puritan that she was, she could 
recite each Sunday sermon forward and backward she 
could also, with equal glibness of tongue, report just what 
every woman in the congregation had on and whether her 
apparel was old or new. There was, however, no malice 
in this comment; she was simply a realist who, if she had 
possessed a writer's art, would without rancor honestly 
have set forth the virtues, follies, beauties and limitations 
of humanity as she saw them. The village feared her a 
little but her most bitter enemy never failed to concede 
that Martha Allen had a level head. 

Perhaps it may have been because of her own sound 
judgment and clear-sightedness that Elizabeth's vacillat- 
ing and uncertain character was so hard for her to bear. 
For Elizabeth never did the thing one had a right to ex- 
pect her to do. Belleport summed up her lack of logic 
and consistency in the one word ' highty-tighty." You 
could depend on Martha but you never could depend on 
Elizabeth. Into her nature seemed to have seeped the 
changeableness of the shifting sands that on every side 
surrounded her. She had a troubled, hypersensitive per- 
sonality which was kept in constant turmoil by an over- 
developed conscience. No matter what she did she al- 
ways wondered afterward whether it would not have 
been better if she had done something else. Where 
Martha thought, acted and stood stubbornly by her con- 
duct, Elizabeth rushed forward, wavered, acted, regretted 
and bemoaned. Her days were days of introspection 
and bitter self-reproach. 

' I s'pose I might have," was the phrase that fell from 
her lips a score of times 'twixt sunrise and sunset. 

' It beats me, Eliza, why you can't do a thing an' 
then let it alone," her sister would exclaim im- 
patiently. What use is there in diggin' up everythin* 



PENELOPE 25 



an' pullin' it to pieces when once it's done an' over with? ; 

" But I want to be sure I did the right thing," the un- 
lucky creature would whimper. 

" Didn't you feel you were doin' right when you 
did it?" 

"I yes I thought so at the time/' 

" Then leave it be, for pity's sake. Don't go harpin* 
on it. Quit thinkin' about it an' go at the next thing." 

Caustic as was this simple remedy for Elizabeth's ills 
it failed to sear into her marrow and as a result her face 
wore an anxious, puzzled expression which onlookers in- 
terpreted as f retf ulness. In contrast to Martha's smooth 
brow her own was furrowed with wrinkles, and although 
she w r as five years the junior of her sister she appeared 
ten years older. At forty-five she had arrived at no so- 
lution of the world or the creatures who peopled it. She 
moved amid a vast enigma that had neither beginning 
nor end and possessed no answer. What marvel that 
such an existence left her nettled and wondering? 

Nevertheless, in spite of the opposition of their dis- 
positions, there was a deep-rooted affection between the 
two women. They shared a common pride in their Pil- 
grim ancestry; in the blameless reputation of their for- 
bears; in the self-respecting position they held in the 
community. Their father was a notable figure in the 
town; they were as well-to-do as their neighbors, per- 
haps even a trifle better off ; and save for Mary's willful- 
ness, for which they were in no wise responsible, no 
breath of calumny had ever touched the Allen name. 
What more could one ask of Fortune ? 

Yet beneath their serenity there lurked in the mind of 
each, a very grave menace to their peace. This was Pen- 
elope. What of her? Ah, well might they ask them- 
selves that question! Penelope was anything but a 
calculable factor. 



CHAPTER IV 

TIDINGS FROM OVER SEAS 

IF Penelope were a problem to her aunts how much 
more baffling was she to the Old Captain who had never 
understood her father and entirely lacked the key to na- 
tures such as hers? But for the affection that held the 
two together, and the logic Jabez Allen brought to bear 
on the situation, the girl's existence in the old homestead 
that fronted the sea might have been a vastly unpleasant 
one. Amid a haze through which he saw but darkly, the 
Calvanistic doctrine of retribution offered the one illu- 
minating gleam. He had been harsh and unforgiving to 
the mother, visiting upon her a sentence of banishment 
whose severity was out of all proportion to her offense. 
Had she married a criminal he could not have pronounced 
a more drastic decree against her. After all, what had 
there been against John Turner save that he was a 
dreamer and that Captain Jabez did not like dreamers? 
^There was, to be sure, the mortification of being beaten 
and the Old Captain was a proud man in whom even now 
the defeat of having another preferred to himself still 
rankled like a sullen, inextinguishable flame. Neverthe- 
less, the years had brought with them both wisdom and 
charity and he knew now that had he the thing to do 
over again he would stifle his pride and forgive Mary 
and her husband. 

Why was it that life must be spent in learning to live? 

Fortunately, he had enough of the sporting instinct in 



TIDINGS FROM OVER SEAS 27 

him to be a good loser if the game were a fair one and 
he could not but admit that the retribution Providence 
had visited on him was merited. Not all the punishment 
for our deeds, philosophized he, is delayed until the 
Hereafter; much of it we live out in this world; and in 
accepting Penelope, who was as like her father as the 
offshoot of the parent tree, he was living out a measure 
of this punishment. He would not whine but would 
bear it unflinchingly and like a man. 

Therefore whenever he failed to understand this 
enigmatic granddaughter of his he summoned his affec- 
tion to the rescue, blindly trusting where hei could not 
see. He did not attempt to guide; rather he followed 
gropingly the flights and dips, the elusive flutterings, the 
bursts of song, the plaints of despair, knowing full well 
that his course of action in any given situation and 
Penelope's would be as widely apart as the stars. 

Hence when Dick Morton came upon the scene and 
the rapid courtship and bethrothal took place, Captain 
Jabez astounded his daughters by offering no protest. He 
would interfere with no more wooings and matings, re- 
solved he, with stony determination ; he had made trou- 
ble enough for himself as it was. Nevertheless, although 
he so docilely gave his consent, his keen old eyes looked 
out from beneath their massively overhanging brows and 
missed no turn of the drama going on before him. Had 
Martha and Elizabeth been able to read deeper into his 
heart they might, perhaps, have decided his acquiescence 
less sterling than it appeared on the surface. 

Dick Morton was going to war, argued Captain Jabez. 
Who could predict what Fate held in store for him ? He 
might never return. Besides, he and Penelope were very 
young and at best the latter was little else than an ideal- 
ist like her father, an unstable person liable to flights 
of fancy and reversals of mind. Indeed, he had a sus- 



28 GRANITE AND CLAY 

picion that in point of fact it was the romance rather 
than the lover that held her. The whole affair might 
come to naught. Why stir up trouble by refusing to ac- 
cept something nebulous as a mirage? And even were 
he to forbid the bans was he certain he had the power 
to enforce the edict he pronounced? There was a vast 
deal of John Turner in his daughter and the Old Captain 
had not forgotten that he had been routed before by an 
antagonist equally misleading in gentleness and amiabil- 
ity. To veto the engagement might only precipitate a 
marriage and any such denouement he was determined 
to thwart at all costs. In consequence he gave an assent 
to the union that nonplused the village by its cordiality, 
and had young Morton been actually his grandson he 
could not have bidden him Godspeed with greater warmth 
and fervor. But when the leave-takings were over and 
life narrowed down into its former humdrum groove, he 
watched Penelope with lynx-eyed intensity, scrutinizing 
her moods and studying her expression whenever mis- 
sives from her lover arrived. Afterward, alone in his 
room, his face would light with quiet satisfaction. Pen- 
elope was waking up to something that was evident. 
There was a dissatisfied little pucker between her brows 
that foreshadowed some sort of disappointment ; he knew 
it of old. Many a problem that made life difficult was 
solved by waiting. Ah, Penelope's affairs were sure to 
work out satisfactorily never fear! 

And perhaps had it not been for the interference of 
unlooked-for circumstances the gradual disillusion Cap- 
tain Jabez prophesied might really have taken place. 
But one October day young Morton's father came driv- 
ing up to the door and beckoned to Elizabeth who was 
washing down the back steps. 

" Penelope home ? " he inquired abruptly. 

" Yes." 



IS 

if 



TIDINGS FROM OVER SEAS 29 

"I I've got somethin' to tell her." 

The tensity of the words caused Elizabeth to glance 
into his face. It was a rugged countenance, bronzed to 
toughness by exposure to sun, salt and wind. Deep fur- 
rows in the tan showed streaks of white, and the eyes 
had the watery softness typical of the seafarer. Hair 
and brows were a grizzled brown but the mouth, usually 
smiling, wore no expression of geniality to-day, but in- 
stead was ominous with tragedy. 

" What's the matter ? ' murmured Elizabeth in a 
frightened whisper. " Dick ain't it ain't bad news, 
is it?" 

The reply was so slow in coming that the woman trem- 
bled; then moving automatically forward, she closed the 
kitchen door and leaned weakly against it. 

My land ! " ejaculated she in a terrified voice. 
They ain't wholly certain he's dead," put in the man 
with instant optimism. ' He was sent to do outpost duty 
an' just didn't come back with the others. That's all. 
But afterwards there was a big explosion an' though they 
didn't find no trace of him, one of his mates said he saw 
Dick lyin' amidst the rubbish. I'm afraid there ain't 
much real chance of his bein' alive. If he was they'd 
V heard somethin' from him before now." 

With every word the light of hope that had flared up 
in the man's dim blue eyes faded, giving way to misery 
and despair. 

"Oh, Mr. Morton, I'm so sorry!" cried Elizabeth. 
" Poor Dick ! We all were so fond of him. Isn't it 
terrible!" 

She began to whimper and wiped away her fast gath- 
ering tears with the corner of her apron. 

" He was a good son to me I couldn't have asked 
for a better," answered the father, his own control 
steadied by the woman's emotion. " You'll tell Penelope, 



30 GRANITE AND CLAY 

won't you? It will be hard on her, poor girl! Don't 
give her any hope. 'Twould be cruel. The boy is gone 
an' she must face it like the rest of us." 

Stunned by the tidings and not knowing what else to 
do Elizabeth stood watching while Dick's father gath- 
ered up his reins and rode slowly away between the lines 
of lime- washed stones that marked the sandy driveway; 
then, eager to impart her news and shift the burden of 
its responsibility to other shoulders, she hurried into the 
house. 

" Martha ! " she called. " Martha ! " 

" Martha's stepped over to Bearses' for a cup of mo- 
lasses," answered the Old Captain, glancing up from the 
Belleport Clarion. " What are you in such a stew about, 
Eliza?" 

" Nathan Morton was here just now." 

" Well? " queried Captain Jabez sharply. 

" Oh, Pa, it's awful. He says Dick's been killed." 

" Killed! " 

" Yes. Leastways, that is what his father told me. 
He said he was sent somewheres to do somethin', an* 
somethin' happened to him," concluded Elizabeth in- 
coherently as with wan face she collapsed into a chair. 
Sincerely as she regretted the tragedy she so seldom 
found herself in the limelight that she quite enjoyed her 
momentary importance. In fact, it was characteristic 
of her that she relished the morbid far more than the 
optimistic and had come to delight in it to such an ex- 
tent that now, had she been honest enough to admit it, 
she would have been compelled to own that she preferred 
bad news to good. Therefore, after making her melo- 
dramatic announcement and stealthily watching her 
father for some sign, it dampened her spirits to no 
small extent to receive from him no comment on her 
tidings. 



TIDINGS FROM OVER SEAS 31 

i 

" Ain't it awful ! " she at last exploded, when she could 
endure the silence no longer. 

Still the Old Captain did not reply. 

Elizabeth fidgeted impatiently with her apron. 

" Did you ask if there was anything we could do for 
the Mortons ? ' Captain Jabez at length inquired in a 
matter-of-fact tone. 

"No. There! Warn't that just like me? I s'pose 
I might have. I wish to goodness I had. The thought 
never entered my head. Likely Mis' Morton will think 
it queer 'nough. She'll probably yet mebbe she's rather 
you know you never can be sure how folks will take 
things. I might go up there, mightn't I ? ' She rose to 
her feet, then suddenly sat down again. " Still, p'raps 
it would be as well if I telephoned. I don't know just 
what to do." Nervously she twisted and untwisted the 
string of her apron. " Hadn't I better wait until Martha 
gets back an' see what she says ? ' 

At another time the Captain would have smiled at so 
typical a substitute for action, for Elizabeth was habit- 
ually wont to flee to this avenue of escape every time a 
decision confronted her. 

" I'll 'tend to it," cut in her father. 

" I guess you better, Pa," came comfortably from his 
daughter. " As long's I didn't do it in the first place, it 
might look still I was so struck of a heap ' 

"Where's Penelope?' Again the Old Captain in- 
terrupted her. 

1 Penelope? Well, there! She oughter be told, 
oughtn't she? Oh, dear me! There'll be a to-do now! 
She's up in her room, I guess, or in the attic. I saw 
her take a brush an' start upstairs. I wondered then 
what " 

" I'll hunt her up." 

" Don't you want me to? ' faltered Elizabeth. 



32 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" No." 

' But she may faint or do somethin' awful. Hadn't 
we better put off tellin' her 'till Martha gets back? 
Seems 'sif ' 

But Captain Jabez was gone. 

After his departure Elizabeth continued to dally with 
her apron string. 

( I wish I had spoke to Mr. Morton," mused she aloud. 
" It must 'a' looked dretful unfeeling of me not to offer 
to do somethin'. But when you're so upset an' all, folks 
oughtn't to lay it up against you if you forget your man- 
ners. I do hope Pa'll be gentle with Penelope. Men are 
so blunt. Queer how different they are from women. 
She may have fainted already. It certainly is awful still 
every wheres. But there she never did faint in her 
life. 'Tain't likely that 'but fur's that goes nothin' 
like this ever happened to make her faint. I wish I'd 
gone upstairs with Pa. Mebbe I oughter have. I might 
go now only if Martha was to come in an' there was no- 
body 'round to tell her No, I guess I'd better wait 
right here." 

Therefore with every muscle tense and face drawn 
into a network of anxious puckers Elizabeth waited. 

No sound came from the floor above. 

I do hope Pa'd have the sense to call me if anything 
happened," she whispered to herself. " I wonder if I 
could hear him if he did. The door might be shut so I 
couldn't." 

Rising, she stole into the hall. 

' Mebbe he wouldn't like me to go taggin' him up- 
stairs if I was to go now. 'Twould look as if I was lis- 
tenin'. I wish to mercy Martha'd come back. Likely 
she's settin' talkin' at the Bearses' just as if there was 
no such things as wars an' killin's. I wonder if I'd 
oughter go an' fetch her. I've half a mind to. P'raps 



TIDINGS FROM OVER SEAS 33 

she'll say I'd oughter gone an' got her. But fur's that 
goes she'll say I oughter done whatever I haven't any- 
way. She always does. I never seem to see things as 
she does never! Of course 'twouldn't take me long 
to step over there. Still, s'pose Pa was to call me while 
I was gone? No, I guess ' The monologue of un- 
certainty was broken off by Martha's appearance in the 
doorway. 

"Well, if I ain't thankful you're back again!" the 
wretched Elizabeth ejaculated. " Whatever have you 
been doin' at Bearses' all this time ? ' 

' I had to go for molasses," was the curt retort. 
" How did you happen not to get the jug filled last 
week ? " 

: There ! I knew there was somethin' else I meant 
to order of that man when he w T as here Saturday! It 
was molasses. Did you ever! An' you had to go way 
over there ' 

' And leave the gingerbread half stirred up yes, I 
did," was Martha's grim interpolation. 

Elizabeth could see that her sister's face was stern with 
displeasure and she now realized for the first time that 
a half-finished baking littered the pantry shelf. Tim- 
idly she started to speak ; then lost courage and hesitated 
while Martha took off her sunbonnet, washed her hands, 
and went into the closet. 

' Somethin' terrible' s happened while you've been 
gone," she at length blurted out desperately. 

Martha wheeled about from the board where she had 
begun to sift flour. 

"What?" 

" Dick Morton's killed." 

' How do you know ? ' 

" His father was here an* told me." 

" Why didn't you say so when I came in ? " demanded 



34 GRANITE AND CLAY 

Martha, whisking back into the kitchen and standing ac- 
cusingly before the offender. 

" I was so upset 'bout the molasses that I ' 

"Where's Penelope?" 

" Upstairs. Pa's gone to tell her." 

Without a word Martha crossed the room, and wiping 
the flour that powdered her hands on her apron as she 
went, she sped into the hall and up the stairway. Left 
in solitude Elizabeth could hear her sister's swift step 
echoing through the stillness. 

There ! I had oughter gone up ! ' wailed she. 
" Still, if I had, there'd been nobody down here to tell 
her when she come in. I s'pose she'll blame me. But 
she'll blame me anyhow. I never do seem to hit it right. 
Don't it beat all ! " 



CHAPTER V 

A VOICE FROM THE BEYOND 

SLOWLY Captain Jabez mounted the dim stairway 
whose spiral windings creaked beneath his feet. 

Well, Penelope's romance had terminated precisely as 
he had expected he did not own as he had hoped, for 
the old Captain was not a heartless man. It was tragic 
that a youth as promising as Dick Morton should have 
been cut off from life while he stood at its very thres- 
hold, tragic and terrible that the youth of any country 
should. War was a cruel, unintelligent means of set- 
tling disputes and one which the world should by this 
time have outgrown. But if civilization were still too 
childish to adopt methods more worthy, what alternative 
had an outraged nation but to fight ? Disaster and death 
were but the natural aftermath of such conflict and must 
be expected. 

Nevertheless, although all these reflections passed 
swiftly through Captain Jabez's imagination and he 
mused with genuine regret on the fate of young Mor- 
ton, it was not really he on whom his thought was cen- 
tered as he climbed the shadowy stairs. Penelope was 
uppermost in his mind. How would she take this calam- 
ity? He had never been able to fathom the depth of her 
sudden affection for this man. Her reaction to love (if 
indeed love it were) had been of a type he did not in the 
least understand. Not that she had not done all the 
things that a maiden swept away by the tides of her first 



36 GRANITE AND CLAY 

romance might have been expected to do. Oh, Penelope 
had smiled and blushed and wept just as he had fancied 
girls doing; she had been ecstatic and depressed by turns, 
had been stimulated to alternate gayety and thoughtful- 
ness. But beneath these moods he had felt something to 

o 

be wanting; what he could not have told. 

There was no such incompleteness in the affection she 
displayed toward her aunts or himself. Spontaneity vi- 
brated in voice, glance, deed, and if there were less poetry 
about it nevertheless it held a quality that satisfied. But 
in this more vital relation, the great mating of her life, 
he sensed a vague deficiency which he could only define 
by saying that the girl seemed to be forcing herself to 
artificial expression. Still, this judgment might be quite 
groundless. What did he know of the psychology of 
love? Certainly Penelope had been all that was sweet, 
modest, charming. Could one ask more? 

So- he trudged on up the stairs and through the nar- 
row halls, Oriental with timeworn pagodas, curious lit- 
tle' bridges, and Chinese junks sailing on mythical seas. 
Penelope was. not ia her room nor did the wooden floor- 
ing above his head give forth evidence of any presence. 
Going to the door leading to the attic, he lifted the latch 
and* softly called her name. 

Yes, Grandfather," came the quiet answer. 

Up he went aver the quaint, spaiter-work stairs. 

Penelope, with- eyes large and startled, was sitting on 
a trunk, her hands tightly clasped in her lap. A breeze 
sweeping in from the sea stirred the little curls of soft 
brown hair that framed her face but save for this almost 
imperceptible movement she was as still as if turned to 
stone. As Captain Jabez looked at her the pathos of 
her attitude not only told him what he dared not ask but 
filled his heart with self-reproach. 

" I heard," explained she with her eyes on his. 



A VOICE FROM THE BEYOND 37 

The old man did not speak. How empty words were 
at such a moment ? There seemed to be nothing to say. 

"I I'm sorry, Penelope," he ventured at last, think- 
ing as he uttered the phrase how vapid it sounded. 

At his voice he saw her chin quiver and he went to her 
side, drawing her into the shelter of his great arm. He 
was not a demonstrative man and so seldom did the deeps 
of his affection give evidence of their being that in spite 
of his awkwardness the act took on a peculiar force and 
significance. 

" You knew, of course, that something like this was 
liable to happen/' murmured he after an interval, in 
which he touched the girl's hair with his hand. 

" Yes." 

" Dick has given his life in a great cause." 

" Yes." 

" You will always have it to remember." 

" Yes." 

A pause fell between them and as she rested passively 
against his shoulder, her eyes sought the floor. 

At a loss for further words the Old Captain became 
silent, his gaze traveling across the dusty chests beneath 
the eaves old wooden sea-chests with handles of rope 
and bearing the scars of many a rough voyage. A 
cracked mirror in a frame of pale gilt leaned against one 
of them, and a confusion of disabled furniture, noseless 
water pitchers and discarded magazines littered the floor. 
Heartened by a rift of light shining through the dusty 
window at the end of the room, a spider in a rectangle 
of sunshine was creeping up the side of a dingy pewter 
teapot that stood near the big square chimney marking 
the center of the garret. Idly the Captain watched it slip 
backward on the smooth surface of the metal. The chill 
of the October day breathed in the atmosphere and he 
shivered a little. 



38 GRANITE AND CLAY 

Then of a sudden quick steps resounded in the hall be- 
neath and Martha's grave face appeared above the 
stairway. 

" You better come downstairs, Penelope," said she, ad- 
dressing the girl in a practical tone. This is no place 
to stay. It's cold an' dirty. I'll finish the brushin' up 
by an' by. Pa, you go down an' light a fire in the sittin'- 
room so'st to get a comfortable spot for the child to sit." 

Welcoming action of any sort the man rose and obeyed. 
Martha went over to her niece and taking her hand went 
on kindly : 

" I'm so sorry, dear. War is a terrible thing. But 
remember many another woman besides you will have a 
like sorrow to bear. Think of poor Mrs. Morton her 
only son! And Mr. Morton, too. I'm goin' up there 
now. You wouldn't like to come with me, would you ? ' 

Amazed at the question, the girl shook her head. 
" No," she answered with offended dignity. 

" Well, perhaps it is just as well," Martha continued. 
" You can go some other time." 

For an instant she stood silently looking down on the 
apathetic figure on the trunk, her head towering into the 
cobwebbed angles of the slanting roof. 

" I think we'd better go down now," announced she. 

" I'm as well here as anywhere." 

" Nonsense ! There's chairs an' a fire downstairs." 

With reluctance Penelope arose and followed her men- 
tor down to the tiny living room where behind closed 
doors she continued to sit motionless all day long. She 
did not read, she did not sew, she did not even weep. 
The next day and the next she remained there, morose 
and idle. Neighbors came and went and through the 
door that led to the kitchen she could catch the subdued 
murmur of their voices and the whispered interrogation, 
"How is she?" 



A VOICE FROM THE BEYOND 39 

Some of those more intimately acquainted with the 
family inquired particularly for her, and now and then 
one of her aunts would tiptoe in to ask if she would not 
like to see some old friend. But the reply was always 
the same: 

" I do not want to see anybody." 

"Her grief is somethin' awful," the girl heard her 
Aunt Elizabeth remark to Mrs. Marvin, the minister's 
wife. " I'm afraid she'll never be the same again. Ever 
since the news came she's been a blighted bein\" 

The phrase pleased Mrs, Marvin's fancy. She was a 
romantic creature who delighted in the sentimental. In- 
cidentally she was in addition a great gossip and there- 
fore it followed that before night she had rolled the three 
words beneath her tongue dozens of times and all the 
village knew that for love of Dick Morton his sweet- 
heart, Penelope Turner, had become a blighted bein'. 
This seemed to the hamlet a fitting fate for a bereaved 
fiancee. It seemed so to Penelope herself, although to 
do her justice her grief was very real. Nevertheless, 
whether she mourned for Dick himself; for the great 
sorrow-stricken world in general ; or for the death of her 
own particular hopes, she could not perhaps have told. 

One thing, however, was certain she would now 
have no use for the dainty garments she had begun to 
fashion or for the household linen she had started to 
embroider. There was never to be a wee cottage where 
her own hearth fires would blaze and friends come at her 
beckoning. That dream was over. Instead, she must 
go on forever staying with her grandfather and her 
aunts; putting up with Aunt Martha's sharp corrections 
and Aunt Elizabeth's tiresome repetitions. To the end 
of her days 'she would always be an outsider living in a 
home which was hers only through sufferance, charity. 
If she wanted company she must beg the privilege like a 



40 GRAMTE AND CLAY 

dependent. Over and over there would be the same end- 
less washing of the sprigged china; the same dusting of 
the same old crevices in the furniture; her grandfather's 
same old stories and jokes. She would simply settle 
down and grow old and scrawny and middle-aged as her 
aunts had done. 

It hardly seemed worth while to take up life again; 
in fact, it did not seem worth while. 

Day after day, engrossed in such thoughts, Penelope 
sat indoors until days ran into weeks and weeks into 
months. Winter passed and spring came, and still she 
made no attempt to banish her depression. 

" She's just sorter stunned," she heard Aunt Martha 
explaining to a solicitous visitor one evening. " You 
can't rouse her out of her grief, poor child ! ' 

Stunned, blighted! Yes, mused Penelope, that was 
exactly what she was, and a little tremor of satisfaction 
crept over her. How dramatic it was her romance 
and its climax ! Was it not wholly consistent that a girl 
whose lover had been killed in battle should be stunned 
and blighted? She rather liked to feel the town was 
thinking of her as a grief-stricken, blighted creature. 
And when in the course of time her invalidism became 
sufficiently established for friends to send in flowers, clam 
broth, or jelly, she toyed listlessly with these donations 
quite as if she were playing a part on a stage. By sum- 
mer, encouraged by the attention^ of the villagers, her 
aunts' sympathy, her grandfather's anxiety, frugal diet 
and a lack of fresh air, she began actually to look ill and 
quite exulted in her transformation. Interesting shad- 
ows darkened her eyes, making them unwontedly large 
and appealing; her skin, too, no longer exposed to salt 
winds and sunshine, had whitened into pallor. Even the 
blindest spectator would have noticed a decided change 
in her appearance. And the more her countenance al- 



A VOICE FROM THE BEYOND 41 

tered the more languid became her attitude. So com- 
pletely was she now lost in the character she was 
portraying that her sense of the dramatic swept her 
along until she was entirely unconscious of being a mum- 
mer. 

In the meantime Captain Jabez worried himself into 
such a state of nervous irritability that he did not sleep ; 
and from morning to night he helplessly nagged at his 
daughters and reproached them because they did not do 
something about Penelope. 

You women oughter have the brains to doctor her 
up," fumed he. There must be medicines an' things 
you could give her. Yet here you sit like bumps on a 
log, lettin' the child die before your very eyes. She's 
goin' down into the grave that's what she is. Pinin' 
away. I'll bet she's lost thirty pounds." 

' I don't see what we can do, Pa," returned Martha 
gently. * Doctor Carver has seen her an' he says medi- 
cines won't help none." 

* She's eatin' her life away with grief dyin' of a 
broken heart," put in Elizabeth who, much as she loved 
her niece, could not completely stifle her pride in the 
broadcast solicitude the Aliens were awakening. 

' She must have cared for Dick Morton a sight mor'n 
we thought," commented Martha, voicing aloud for the 
first time her former skepticism. 

* Damn Dick Morton ! ' snapped Captain Jabez. " I 
wish to heaven Penelope had never laid eyes on him." 

" True love is beyond comprehension, Pa," simpered 
Elizabeth self-consciously. ' It is foreordained/' 

She had used the word before when talking with the 
neighbors and found it effective. 

In fact, Penelope's unhappy romance had elevated the 
household into public gaze until, as at the time of Mary's 
escapade, their affairs were once again the foremost topic 



42 GRANITE AND CLAY 

of conversation in the community. For a time, to be 
sure, interest had focused on the bereaved Morton fam- 
ily; but when they were discovered to be comporting 
themselves in normal fashion and meeting their sorrow 
w r ith commonplace resignation, concern for them shifted 
to a morbid exultation in the grief of Penelope Turner. 
Here at last was something to gossip about. As if view- 
ing a cineograph they beheld a woman pining away and 
dying because her lover had been shot in battle. How 
romantic! How altogether suitable! The sentimental 
wallowed in the tragedy. 

Not that any one really wished ill to Penelope. On 
the contrary everybody in town liked the Aliens and was 
fond of Mary's daughter. Nevertheless there was no 
denying that Belleport was pleased to find itself in the 
spotlight and the cynosure of all the countryside. When 
the hamlet had sent Dick to war it had to some extent 
experienced this consciousness of its own importance. 
Other villages along the Cape, however, had sent soldiers 
to France some, in truth, sending many more than 
Belleport so the prestige of the town was soon blotted 
out. But no hamlet anywhere about could boast an epic, 
thrilling, pathetic and satisfying at every point as was 
this one. It was a story worthy of an opera or to be 
immortalized between the covers of a book. In hushed 
tones Belleport related it, waxing eloquent with emotion 
and, although no one whispered it to his neighbor, al- 
most everybody in the town began secretly to plan fitting 
rites and memorials that should forever commemorate 
the poetic event. 

Thus a year passed and with November came the sign- 
ing of the Armistice and the exodus of the American 
forces from Europe. And then one day, all unheralded 
and unlooked-for, into the little Cape Cod settlement that 
mourned him as dead came Dick Morton! 



A VOICE FROM THE BEYOND 43 

He was bronzed and gaunt, and a sadness in his eyes 
proclaimed that he had eaten of the tree of knowledge 
and known both heaven and hell. The boy who had 
gone forth was gone forever and in his place there had 
returned a man, strong, alert, and with a wisdom bred 
of suffering and contact with the world and his fellows. 
Two wound stripes glistened on his sleeve and a cap- 
tain's insignia adorned his cap and uniform; and deep 
in his breast pocket, had it been known, nestled a Croix 
de Guerre and two citation ribbons. 

A very different matter was his arrival from the noisy 
farewell with which he had gone forth. Now not a 
word was uttered when he made his appearance. Only 
an awed silence greeted him as he came down the station 
platform toward the little group who were regarding him 
with fascinated, half -terrified eyes. 

"Didn't you fellows know the war was over?' he 
called dryly to Daniel Snow who, with open mouth, was 
struggling to compose himself enough to gather together 
the odd collection of grips and luggage the brakeman had 
pitched into his arms. 

" Yes ! But Good Lord ! " 

"Then what's the matter with all you people?'* 
laughed Dick. "Turned into graven images?' 

Still there was silence. 

" We all had you dead an' buried ! ' Johnnie Drew at 
last gained courage to pipe. 

"Me!" 

"Sure." 

" But I wrote home as soon as I could." 

" 'Twarn't soon enough to prevent the whole town 
from thinkin' you were with the angels," Johnnie ex- 
plained. " No letters got to Belleport. If they had, the 
whole place would 'a' known it." 

" Jove ! And my people think ' 



44 GRANITE AND CLAY 



' I'm afraid they do," nodded Johnnie. ' An' Penel- 
ope Turner, too." 

To the latter observation young Morton paid no atten- 
tion. Perhaps he did not hear it. By this time he was 
moving from one of the little knot of friends to another, 
shaking each man by the hand and exclaiming : 

" How are you, Eph ? How are you, Billy ? Yes, I'm 
back. The scrimmage is over, thank the Lord ! Tell 
you about France? I'm* afraid I can't just now. It's 
too long a story. Some day I will, though. Bully to 
be home again. Best country ever ! God's own. Take 
it from me there's no place like it. Got your horse here, 
Nat? What do you say to toting me and my dunnage 
over, to the town ? ' 

" I'd admire to, Major. Goin' long the shore road to 
your father's ? ' 

" Er no. I -want to stop a moment at the Aliens' 
first." 

As the slim figure sprang into the wagon the onlookers 
exchanged significant glances. 

Before he went to see his own family he was going 
to see Penelope! 



CHAPTER VI 

THE SPECTER APPEARS 

ALONE in the living room Penelope was sitting before 
the Franklin stove, her eyes fixed absently upon the blaze 
that flickered fitfully up within it. Her hands lay 
clasped in her lap and over her shoulders hung a cro- 
cheted shawl o>f soft white wool which she occasionally 
drew about her with a little shiver. Although through 
the window's small panes stretched a sweep of ocean 
whose deep, undulating blue was fretted with riotous 
edges of feathery whiteness, the girl's head was turned 
away from the magnificent spectacle. She had no in- 
terest either in the splendor of the sea or in the four- 
masted schooner which far out against a bleak sky fought 
dauntlessly to make its way against the fierce head wind. 
Nor did she heed the boisterous- crashing of the surf that, 
whipped into mounting masses, foamed down upon the 
sands of the bar with a mighty roar. 

Captain Jabez would have had out his binoculars in a 
twinkling had he spied the ship with sails so snowy 
against the cobalt of the horizon. 

But what cared Penelope for ships, or waves, or tides ; 
or the awe-inspiring beauty of the morning? She had 
reached a point where one day was to her like another. 
The only pity was that day must succeed day, month fol- 
low month, and year lengthen into year, when in reality 
her life was ended already. The reach of time that lay 
ahead contained no prospect but loneliness and inevitable 
spinsterhood. Well, what did it all matter? Life could 



46 GRANITE AND CLAY 

not last forever and perhaps she might as well drag out 
her existence in Belleport as anywhere else. 

But why had such a lot fallen to her? Other girls 
married, had homes of their own, bore children, and were 
blessed with careers of normal domesticity and happiness. 
Why had it been ordained that her future be spoiled? 
It was all very cruel, very unjust, and she pitied herself 
with all her heart. 

A door opened softly. 

' Are you warm enough, Penelope? " inquired a solic- 
itous voice. 

" Yes, Aunt Elizabeth." 

The great jade eyes glanced up dully. 

' Don't you think that if I brought you a glass of milk 
you could drink it now, dear? You didn't eat much 
breakfast." 

" I hate milk." 

' But you could drink it if it was good for you." 
The phrase was an unfortunate one; for Penelope, 
bent at the moment on hastening her end, had no interest 
in patronizing measures that should prolong life. 

' I don't want any milk, Aunt Elizabeth," returned 
she peevishly. " I wish you'd let me alone." 

: There, there, dear," interposed her aunt in the sooth- 
ing tone one might have used toward a child. " Of 
course you needn't drink milk if you don't want to. I 
just thought you might like it. You must be faint." 

' I'm not," pouted Penelope. 

f Isn't there somethin' I can do for you before I go? " 
persisted the woman, as she stooped to smooth the girl's 
hair with her fingers. 
"Go?" 

Yes, I've got to be gettin' back into the kitchen to 
help Martha. It's washin' day, you know, an' there's 
bread to bake besides. We've a lot to do." 



THE SPECTER APPEARS 47 

If any hint of reproach lurked in the words it found 
its way there unconsciously, for long ago both Martha 
and Elizabeth had given up expecting Penelope to bear 
any further part in the labors of the home. 

" She's too frail to be forced to do anything," her 
aunts agreed. " We must just let her follow her in- 
clinations an' do pleasant things." 

And so Penelope had followed them until like a young 
sultana she not only offered no aid in lifting the burden 
of household cares but she added to them by lapsing into 
being waited upon. This change, to do her justice had, 
however, come about gradually. At first she had con- 
tinued to perform the trivial duties that had to do with 
her own well-being; she had made her bed, swept her 
room, filled her pitcher and carried it upstairs. But 
when Aunt Elizabeth had sympathetically offered to take 
over these tasks her niece had with indifference permitted 
her to do so; and ever since, notwithstanding that her 
aunt had plenty to do already, Penelope had allowed her 
to shoulder these additional services. 

So long as she was comfortable and unmolested it did 
not matter to Penelope how the result was achieved. 

Once Aunt Elizabeth's artless allusion to the work 
would have roused her tenderness and spurred her to in- 
stant cooperation, for* the girl was not only fond of her 
relatives but far too proud to accept from them a home 
for which she gave a niggardly return. But now no such 
praiseworthy impulse stirred her. She was too much 
absorbed in herself and her own emotions to care what 
went on beyond the four walls of the room she occupied. 

" I wonder wouldn't you like the curtain up a little 
more," fussed Elizabeth kindly. ' It is a splendid day 
outside and the room seems gloomy." 

Moving suggestively toward the window she put her 
hand on the shade. 



48 GRANITE AND CLAY 



' I wish you wouldn't, Aunt Elizabeth," called Penel- 
ope with evident irritability. : It makes such a glare." 

" It seemed to me the light would be pleasanter, that's 
all/' was the quick reply. You shan't have it if it 
bothers you." Hastily she turned about. 

Penelope dropped her head back against the cushion 
of the chair and wearily closed her eyes and after linger- 
ing a moment, and realizing she had been dismissed, 
Elizabeth tiptoed out, closing the door softly behind 
her. 

1 She's dretful nervous this mornin'," remarked she to 
Martha when once more in the kitchen. " Strung up an* 
fretful as a child. I don't see how she's goin' on this 
way much longer. The next thing we know she'll be 
losin' her mind." 

Martha sighed. 

' It's certainly terrible depressin'," she observed. ' I 
feel all the time- as if there was a black cloud hangin' over 
the house. It's tellin' on Pa. He's got so he's most as 
blue as Penelope is. Do all I may, I can't seem to hist 
his spirits up. All he does is to curse the day Dick 
Morton ever crossed this threshold. I never knew Pa 
to be so bitter toward anybody before much less the 
dead. Mad as he was with Mary, he softened a lot 
about her after she'd passed away. But this thing has 
took hold of him somethin' awful. He worships Penel- 
ope." 

" Don't you s'pose she'll ever ' 
c Come out of it, you mean ? I don't know," reflected 
Martha hopelessly. " Fur's I can see, though I wouldn't 
confess it to Pa, she's gettin' worse instead of better. 
Certainly she's a sight more uppish an' fretful than she 
was six months ago." 

The poor child doesn't eat enough to keep her alive," 
excused Elizabeth. " Moreover, I reckon she doesn't 



THE SPECTER APPEARS 49 

sleep much. Flesh an' blood can't stand goin's on like 
that forever. Your own nerves would be on edge were 
you to lead such a life." 

" I imagine they would," Martha agreed. " Don't 
think I'm blamin' her, Eliza, an' go bristlin' up. It's only 
that sometimes I wonder if we've done the best thing 
with her." 

" Ain't we done all we could everything the doctor's 
told us?" 

Martha nodded from across the tub of sparkling suds. 

" Yes. But after all, how much does Doctor Carver 
know?" 

" Martha! " 

A horrified exclamation broke from Elizabeth. 

" Oh, of course he's a good doctor enough." 

" Good enough ! I think he's wonderful," asserted 
Elizabeth, only half mollified. " You shouldn't run 
down the doctor or the minister, Martha." 

" I ain't runnin' 'em down," smiled Martha good- 
humoredly. " But the longer I live the leae opinion I 
have of men's wisdom. They ain't infallible any mor'n 
other humans. I used to think they were. But since 
I've lived with Pa I've decided they're only big babies 
that have to be petted, coaxed, coddled an' fed up like 
children. You can whisk their moods round with a 
crook of your finger. An* if you can do that with Pa, 
who is one of the best of 'em, what can some of the 
others be ? ' Martha pursed her thin lips. ' I've come to 
be glad I never married a man. As for Doctor Carver, 
I'm only speculatin' whether he's taken the best course 
with Penelope." 

What on earth set you thinkin' along such lines all 
of a sudden?' demanded Elizabeth in an injured tone. 
" You were satisfied enough with Doctor Carver a few 
days ago." 



50 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" I'm satisfied with him now ; don't go to worryin', 
Eliza. Still, folks do sometimes make mistakes an' I 
calculate Doctor Carver ain't above makin' his blunders 
along with the rest of us." 

" MartJia! " 

" Oh, I know you think he's perfect." 

Elizabeth flushed under the accusation and turned 
away. 

" Just the same, I don't have to," sniffed Martha, 
wringing water out of a towel with a vehement twist of 
her strong arms. " I don't look up to any men any 



more." 



" 



With the exception of Pa I don't see as you have any 
men to look up," returned Elizabeth with a spite that, do 
what she would, sometimes came to the surface. 

Her sister laughed at the thrust. 

' I should hope I didn't have to have a crowd of men 
stuck plumb under my nose to study the species," said 
she. " All you have to do is to view 'em at a distance. 
Look at the way they run this town. My soul ! I could 
do the job better myself. Look at Jonathan Crocker's 
store! Did you ever see such a mess in all your born 
days ? He can't put his hand on one thing a body wants. 
How he knows what he's got or what he hasn't, or 
whether he makes money or loses it I don't see. I 
doubt if he has the ghost of an idea about his finances 
an' him town treasurer ! Don't talk to me of 
men ! " 

" But Doctor Carver ain't shiftless like Jonathan," 
persisted Elizabeth tenaciously. 

" You don't know what he is at home." 

" N-o, I s'pose I don't," faltered Elizabeth, coloring to 
the faded hair that fringed her forehead and bending 
lower over the great mixing bowl. 

For a moment there was silence. 



THE SPECTER APPEARS 51 

" Sarah Harlow says we'd oughter shaken Penelope at 
the beginnin' or spanked her," Martha burst out 
suddenly. 
"What!" 

" She says," went on Martha swiftly, " that if we'd 
started out different the child would never have got into 
such a state. She says we've coddled an' babied her un- 
til we've made her sick." 

Elizabeth dropped into the chair that stood before the 
mixing board. 

" What business had that crabbed old woman to sass 
you like that, Martha?" ejaculated she. "She's 'most 
a hundred, an' bitter as senna tea. How much does she 
know of love affairs? I hope you answered her up good 
an' sharp." 

" I didn't." 

"Why not?" 

" Because I don't know but what she's right." 

" You mean to say you think we'd go to work to make 
our own niece our sister Mary's flesh an' blood ' 
Elizabeth's indignation blocked her speech. 

" I don't mean we'd go to work to do it," explained 
Martha gently. " I just mean that ' 

But the sentence was never finished. 

There was a footfall on the step outside and then came 
a knock. Wiping her hands on her apron, Martha 
opened the door. 

" My soul! " she gasped. " My soul an' body! " 

As she put out her hand to steady herself, a suppressed 
shriek came from Elizabeth. 

" Dick Morton ! ' exclaimed she in a tense voice. 
" Dick Morton ! ' she repeated as if unable to trust her 
senses. 

" Hush, Eliza! " cautioned Martha hurriedly. " Think 
of Penelope ! ' 



52 GRANITE AND CLAY 

Immediately Elizabeth clapped a flour-whitened hand 
over her mouth. 

' Oh, I hope to mercy she didn't hear! " gasped she in 
a frightened whisper. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE JUDGMENT OF PARIS 

" PENELOPE ! " echoed Dick. " And what's the matter 
with Penelope ? ' 

Martha's only answer was to place a mysterious finger 
on her lips. 

" She isn't sick ? ' The tanned face of the young sol- 
dier clouded and his voice dropped to an anxious 
whisper. 

With the eagerness of a hound straining at the leash 
and suddenly let loose Elizabeth burst incoherently into 
the conversation. 

" You see, we thought you were dead/* she began, 
when she could get her breath. You didn't write or 
nothin' an j your father told us he'd had word that ' 

" I wrote the minute I got a chance," the man pro- 
tested. " I've been cooped up in a German prison camp. 
How could I send letters ? As soon as I was free I wrote. 
Didn't Penelope hear ? ' 

" Nobody's heard a word from you for over a year," 
broke in Martha. 

" Great Scott! I don't wonder you are all knocked of 
a heap to see me. They tried to tell me some such yarn 
over to the station but I didn't half take it in. No 
letters! No letters at all? It seems impossible. Well, 
it is all over and done with now. I suppose hundreds of 
such accidents happened. If you had seen conditions on 
the other side you would wonder more of them did not 



54 GRANITE AND CLAY 

occur. You people at home haven't the slightest notion 
what a war like this means. I hadn't until I got mixed 
up in it. The chap who said war was hell was right. 
It's all that and more too." He paused meditatively. 
" And so Penelope thought I'd gone West, eh ? ' 

Martha, to whom the phrase was new, shook her head. 

' She thought you were dead," declared she solemnly. 
Well, we'll soon set that right," smiled Dick boy- 
ishly. ' Now suppose you let me see Penelope." 

Martha hesitated. 

1 Penelope," began she, and then stopped. " Penel- 
ope," she reiterated, ' is well, I don't just know how 
to tell you." 

'She isn't married?' With an expression of con- 
sternation the returned hero looked keenly from one 
woman to the other. 

' Mercy, no ! ' asserted Elizabeth, for a second time 
rushing into the breach. " I almost wish she was, 
though. You see, when word come you were dead 
not being strong she ' and here the second narrator 
paused. It was difficult to put into words precisely what 
had befallen Penelope. 

' She thought so much of you," Elizabeth went floun- 
dering on. ' An' then gettin' a message like that ' 

' For God's sake, tell me exactly what has happened," 
commanded young Morton in a tone of authority. 

Silencing Elizabeth by a gesture of her hand, Martha 
commenced more quietly and collectedly to relate her 
story. 

' For a while after you left," said she, " Penelope 
went round same's she always had, goin' to Red Cross 
meetings, sewin' circles, an' knittin' parties. Of course 
she was kinder lonesome but that was to be expected an* 
nobody took no notice of it. Then one day your 
father " Dick started but with obvious effort con- 



THE JUDGMENT OF PARIS 55 

trolled himself, " your father," went on Martha, " drove 
over here an' brought the news that you were missin' 
from your company an' that somebody 'd seen you lyin' 
on the field shot. Penelope was in the attic workin' but 
she heard through the window an' she just seemed to 
crumple all up. It took every particle of nerve out of 
her. She mourned an' mourned." 

" But afterwards? ' interrupted Dick sharply. 

"Afterwards? Why but there wasn't any after- 
wards," announced Martha irritably, as if annoyed at his 
mannish stupidity. " That's all there is to it. She's just 
been " 

" Dyin' of a broken heart," put in Elizabeth impres- 
sively, unable to keep out of the conversation. * Pinin' 
away." 

She stopped, eager to observe the effect the tidings had 
upon her listener. 

You mean ' ' the man seemed puzzled. 
She's a blighted be-in'," Elizabeth explained, having 
recourse to her favorite phrase. That's what she is ! ' 

" But but I don't understand," murmured Dick. 
" Is she sick ? " 

" Ye n-o, not exactly. At least, I don't know as 
folks would call her really sick," Martha answered. 
" She's up an' round, if that's what you mean. But she 
don't do nothin'." 

" You mean she doesn't do anything about the house ? ' 

" No." 

But she goes out and ' 

I tell you she doesn't do anything" repeated Martha, 
exasperated at his stupidity. ' She does not stir out of 
the sett in* room nor lift a finger. She just sits alone 



.4 
(( 



1C 

t( 



an' ' 



" An' thinks of you," added the incorrigible Elizabeth, 
softly completing the unfinished sentence. 



56 GRANITE AND CLAY 



' And you wait on her? ' 

The women nodded simultaneously. 

" I never heard of such a thing," exploded young Mor- 
ton. ' Suppose I had been dead how was such mop- 
ing to help matters? The idea of Penelope flatting out 
like this ! I wouldn't have believed it of her. Being dead 
wasn't the worst thing that might have happened to me 
by a darn sight; and if she'd seen what I've seen she'd 
realize it. Why, there are men all shot to pieces who 
have got to drag out their lives as cripples. That is 
trouble! Death was a merciful fate. Many a man 
would rather have died than accept what fell to his lot. 
Besides, think of the millions of people who lost those 
they cared about. Suppose all the universe were to sit 
down and fold its hands and mourn as Penelope has, who 
would do the work of the world, I should like to know? 
And even if I should have happened to be dead, weren't 
there still plenty of living to do for instead of lying down 
and chucking up the sponge like a beaten fighter? I 
should have thought a girl like Penelope would have had 
more sporting blood let alone being so darn selfish." 
His indignation was sweeping him away. Where I've 
come from things were done on a bigger scale. People 
weren't just putting their minds on how they felt them- 
selves. If we'd done that, every man of us would have 
gone under. Why, I've seen boys so but, pshaw, 
what's the use of talking? You couldn't understand." 

He came to a stop and shamefacedly bent his head, 
studying the toe of his scarred, hob-nailed shoe as if 
mortified at the trick his nerves had played him. 

Too stunned to reply, Martha and Elizabeth remained 
silent, seeking to recover from the effect of the passionate 
torrent of words. 

' I'm disappointed in Penelope ! Disappointed ! ' 
The young man at last spoke again. 



THE JUDGMENT OF PARIS 57 

"I think you're very unfair leastways it seems so 
to me," faltered Elizabeth, the first to collect herself. 
" You don't seem to appreciate how much Penelope 
cared about you." 

" I don't call making a ridiculous spectacle of herself 
caring/' asserted Dick hotly. " I should think she'd 
have been ashamed to let the whole house know how she 
felt. Most likely everybody in town knew." 

"Of course they did!' the woman retorted with 
offended dignity. 

1 Humph ! Well, I don't believe in parading one's 
feelings out in the sunshine ; that's all ! ' concluded the 
returned soldier, a hint of scorn in the words. 

He picked up his over-seas cap. 

" You're not goin' ? ' cried Martha in alarm. 

Yes, I think perhaps I better be stepping along," re- 
plied Dick in a calmer tone. " Naturally I want to see 
Dad and Mother. I only dropped in for a minute. I'm 
sorry if I got a bit hot under the collar." He colored 
and smiled or tried to. 

" But Penelope," Martha began hurriedly. " You're 
comin' back again to ' 

At the moment the sitting-room door was thrown open 
and Penelope herself stood on the threshold. Her eyes 
were blazing and a spot of brilliant color burned on 
either cheek. 

There is no need for him to come back," flashed she 
shrilly. ' I shan't see him if he does. I don't want to 
see any man who is disappointed in me ashamed of 
me considers me ridiculous!' As if ridding herself 
at the same instant both of her anger and her invalidism, 
she let the shawl that covered her slip from her shoulders 
and lie, a foam of whiteness, at her feet. 

" Penelope, dear ' hazarded the terrified Elizabeth. 

" You needn't worry about me, Aunt Elizabeth," as- 



58 GRANITE AND CLAY 

serted the girl in a high-pitched, dramatic voice. " And 
you needn't pick up that shawl. I shan't ever need it 
again." 

" Penelope ! ' implored her aunt, now thoroughly 
panic-stricken. 

" You see ! ' Martha wheeled accusingly on the dis- 
comforted soldier. 

" Don't blame him, Aunt Martha," interposed Penel- 
ope. ' He is right perfectly right. I have been sel- 
fish selfish and ridiculous, too. I don't wonder he's 
ashamed of me and doesn't want to marry me." 

With extended hands Dick strode toward her. 

" But I didn't say that, Penelope/' he cried eagerly. 

The girl waved him; off. 

: Do you think I would marry you now ? ' she de- 
manded with the fury of an insulted goddess. " Do you 
think for a moment I would marry any man who looked 
down on me who- married me out of pity, or because 
he felt in honor bound to do so? It's all right, Dick. 
I'm not angry in the least. I have simply found out 
where I stand in your eyes. Nothing you could say 
would alter my decision. I wouldn't marry you now if 
you were the only man on earth. I'd die first ! ' 

She drew her spare figure to its full height and taking 
the band of gold from her left hand placed the ring on 
the table; then she turned and without a word of fare- 
\vell disappeared into the room from which she had come. 

Martha stood very still but Elizabeth crumpled weakly 
into a chair. " My land ! ' she groaned. The fat's 
in tfte fire now ! ' Then catching sight of Dick, standing 
with his hand upon the knob of the outer door, she con- 
tinued pleadingly, " But you're surely not goin' to take 
her at her word an' go like this. Penelope was dretful 
put out when she spoke. She's so proud that ' 

" Don't stop him, Eliza ! ' ' Martha interposed in a low, 



THE JUDGMENT OF PARIS 59 

distinct tone. " Let him go. Penelope means every 
word she said. She will never marry him now." 

At the words the young man came toward her. 

" I'm sorry," said he humbly. " Of course, I had no 
idea Penelope was where she could hear. And anyway, 
I know I ought not to have blurted out what I thought. 
But it all struck me as being so petty when contrasted 
with the fine, big things I've been living with over there. 
The men on the other side were so brave, and the women, 
too. Nobody can understand who did not see it. I can't 
take back one word. I still think ' 

" There is no use for you to repeat what you think, 
Dick," Martha declared gravely. " We all know. An* 
do not misunderstand me, either, an' go away feelin' I'm 
put out with you, for I ain't." 

" Martha! " ejaculated the protesting Elizabeth. 

" I ain't sure," repeated the unmoved Martha, daunt- 
lessly ignoring her sister, " but you've done more for 
Penelope than any of the rest of us would have had cour- 
age to do. There's times when folks from outside see 
a thing straighter than those who've been in the midst 
of it an* got used to it. Lately I've been comin' to feel 
we were on the wrong track. Penelope ain't needed 
coddlin' at all; she's needed a good sharp jab an' she's 
got it now. Of course, it's a pity it had to come from 
you. Still, it had to come from somebody she cared 
about or 'twouldn't 'a* meant nothin'. If you set store 
by Penelope an' are disappointed by what's happened, 
it's too bad. Still you're young an' somehow I have a 
notion you'll get over it." For the first time a slight, 
quizzical smile curled her lips. ' I want you should 
shake hands before you go, just to show there's no* hard 
feelin'. Who knows but you've been the best friend any 
of us ever had ? ' 

a kindliness too genuine to be questioned she ex- 



60 GRANITE AND CLAY 

tended her hand and the boy took it in a firm grip ; then, 
as if moved by a sudden impulse, he bent and kissed her 
cheek. 

" You're a brick, Miss Martha," he stammered, as if 
hardly knowing what to say. " Remember, though, I'm 
not through with this affair." 

But Elizabeth was too deeply offended to do more than 
nod. 

" I'm goin' to see what's become of Penelope/' an- 
nounced she, darting a reproachful glance toward her 
sister after the door had closed. " Poor child ! She 
may be dead for all you'd care." 

" Penelope won't die, Eliza," responded Martha with a 
quiet, confident little laugh. You need have no fears 
of that. She's too mad to die. If I don't miss my 
guess, Penelope's goin' to set immediately about livinV 



CHAPTER VIII 
MARTHA'S PROPHECY is FULFILLED 

BEFORE another sun had gone down all Belleport 
buzzed with tidings so unbelievable that the town fairly 
bubbled with excitement and curiosity. The fact that 
Dick Morton had not been killed after all would in itself 
have kept the tongues of the villagers wagging. But 
that event, miraculous as it was, was entirely lost in the 
far more thrilling news that the match 'twixt him and 
Penelope Turner had been broken off. Astounding as 
was the announcement there was no doubting its au- 
thenticity, since it had been the Aliens themselves who 
had made the statement. 

Miss Martha had merely asserted very guardedly to 
some of her neighbors that a termination of the engage- 
ment " seemed best." But Miss Elizabeth, always more 
garrulous and indiscreet than her sister, had affirmed 
outright that it was Penelope who had put an end to the 
romance. As for old Captain Jabez, nobody dared in- 
terrogate him. It was a well-known fact that he never 
gratified the gossips and that in place of information one 
was liable to receive a stinging rebuke. Therefore it 
was the more significant that he should voluntarily refer 
to the affair in the post office, and observe, in offhand 
fashion to Eddie Cowan that the marriage was not to 
come off after all. 

Young folks change their minds," acclaimed he 
jauntily, and with this ambiguous affirmation he gath- 



62 GRANITE AND CLAY 

ered up his mail and sauntered out, leaving his audience 
to content itself without more specific data. 

At a loss to solve the enigma the town twisted and 
turned the puzzle, examining it from every possible and 
impossible angle. 

Evidently irreconcilable as it might appear, Captain 
Jabez cherished no resentment toward Dick Morton for 
he was overheard to greet the young soldier on the street 
with even more than ordinary cordiality and there were 
those m the town who went farther, asserting that the 
Old Deacon actually seemed glad the affair was over and 
that the rise his spirits had taken since the catastrophe 
was scarcely in good taste. However that may have 
been, certain it was that he trod the dunes as if moving 
on air and pushed off to bait his lobster traps with a 
snatch of song on his lips; and when he beheld Dick's 
father on the beach spreading his nets to dry, he gave 
him a hail ringing with such heartiness that it echoed 
lustily above the roar of the breakers. 

But the greatest wonder of all was when Penelope 
Turner made her debut on the village street. How peo- 
ple openly craned their necks to watch her or peeped out 
from behind closed blinds to see her pass ! Why, it was 
well over a year since she had been outside her own door 
and in the meantime so fantastic were the tales which 
had been woven about her the populace was ready to be- 
lieve almost anything. Gossip whispered that she had 
lost thirty pounds nay, fifty; that her hair had turned 
white; that she was so emaciated and feeble that she had 
to be carried about on a pillow ; and yet here was Penel- 
ope in the flesh, giving the lie to all these rumors. 
Cheated of its romance and the prospective column in 
the cemetery with the intertwined hearts, Belleport made 
as much as it could of the scanty tatters that remained 
of the tragedy. 



MARTHA'S PROPHECY FULFILLED 63 

Poor Penelope could go nowhere without being the 
cynosure for prying eyes. Fingers pointed at her ; frag- 
ments of comment reached her ears. Nevertheless she 
did not allow this publicity to daunt her but went her 
way between the rows of elms that lined the village street 
with chin tilted up and an air of independence a* unas- 
sailable as that of the Old Captain himself. She at- 
tended church and gradually drifted back into the Eastern 
Star, the town gatherings, and the store until the sight 
of her at length became so ordinary a spectacle that 
curiosity as to her affairs lagged. Perhaps a cowtributary 
cause to this collapse of public interest was that already 
she had been pulled so completely to fragments that noth- 
ing more remained to be said about her. Be that as it 
may, gossip concerning her died down and although the 
hamlet was none the wiser as to what had really caused 
the rupture 'twixt her and Dick Morton, like a balked 
and exhausted child whose repeated interrogations re- 
ceive no answers, it grudgingly abandoned further 
questionings. 

Meanwhile Penelope began to take on a less haggard 
appearance and the salt tang of the winter wind slowly 
brought a glow of wild-rose color into her cheek, caus- 
ing some of the more disgruntled of the scandalmongers 
to doubt she ever had been sick ; insinuate that they had 
been duped; and regret the jellies, soups, and dainties 
they had in sympathy lavished upon her. The majority 
of the townsfolk, however, were of kindlier disposition 
and after having reconstructed their previous impressions 
they greeted the girl with reassuring welcome. 

Yet notwithstanding their good will, Penelope was un- 
able to shake off the consciousness that beneath their 
friendliness lurked a repressed, ungratified inquisitire- 
ness; and that the myriad questions that trembled on 
their lips were only held back by force of will. It seemed 



64 GRANITE AND CLAY 

impossible to believe that eventually the day would not 
arrive when all that had passed between herself and Dick 
would not filter out through the community and humil- 
iate her before the whole world. But to her surprise no 
such event occurred. Her own family shielded her to 
the very brink of falsehood, and her former lover, ever 
chivalrous toward womanhood, did the same. Seekers 
after information were chagrined to find how adroitly 
young Morton evaded their inquiries. In accepting their 
fellowship he seemed all frankness. He talked of France 
and the Great War; discussed the Armistice; and gave 
his ideas as to terms for peace. But there were two 
subjects on which he closed his mouth : one was his Croix 
de Guerre and the other was Penelope Turner. 

1 How the lad has changed since he went away ! " com- 
mented Joel Hendricks to Dick's father. " You'd hardly 
know him for the same boy. He's a man now." 

Ah, the mystic wand of a world conflict had wrought 
similar magic in many a youth who had gone out from 
his home a stripling ! Distance, peril, solitude ; a horizon 
that encompassed two hemispheres instead of one all 
these had broadened and matured until more than one 
mother had received into her waiting arms a stranger in 
place of the child she had sent forth. So it had been 
with Richard Morton. War had brought resurrection 
not alone to the dead but to the living, awaking qualities 
that had gone into the making of a new mart. 

" You may well be proud of your son, Jake Morton," 
observed Adam Baker. ' He's as promisin' a chap as 
there is anywhere abouts." 

Dick was promising, and had Adam known it, it was 
this very promise' which was bringing anxiety to the 
young man's parents. 

" You'll be findin' Belleport dull, I'm thinkin'," Mr. 
Morton at last ventured desperately to the boy, when one 



MARTHA'S PROPHECY FULFILLED 65 

evening at sunset the two were swabbing out the old 
dory together. ' It's different from France, I reckon." 

For days the thought had been on the father's mind 
until a moment had arrived when even at the price of 
precipitating a crisis he felt he must free his soul of 
it. 

"Well, rather!" 

Although the boy smiled the r.mile did not conceal the 
sigh that accompanied it. 

His father regarded him uneasily out of the corner of 
his eye and after a pause continued : 

"Yes, it's a quiet spot. Still, Hain't such a bad place, 
as places go." 

" It is heaven ! ' was the fervent reply. " A hundred 
times while I was gone I thought of its peace and still- 
ness. It seemed impossible that the same world could 
contain the hell I was in and this paradise." 

He motioned toward the horseshoe of mica-studded 
sands that circled the expanse of ocean. The last glow 
of evening was on the waters, tinting with rose the gulls 
that wheeled low over the shore, and touching with crim- 
son the marshy inlets that wound in serpentine maze 
through the coarse salt grass. 

The sea comes mighty close to a man's heart," mused 
the elder Morton soberly. " Sometimes I think its pull 
is stronger than our love for God or for woman." 

He spoke as he would not have dreamed of speaking 
to his son two years ago. The words were an uncon- 
scious recognition of the boy's manhood. Dick nodded 
understandingly. 

' I don't believe that one bred by the sea ever gets its 
salt out of his veins," he mused. " I had plenty of sky 
and open country while I was away; but there were mo- 
ments when I would have sold my soul to have been in 
the navy instead of on land." 



66 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" You wouldn't like to go away from the shore, then," 
ventured the elder man hopefully. 

" One cannot always choose his environment, Father," 
was the gentle response. ' Circumstances lead us this 
way and that, and we must seize the chances that come 
our way especially if we wish to get on in life." 

"Eh?" 

" I've been wanting to talk this over with you, Dad, 
ever since I came home," continued Dick with slight hesi- 
tation. " You see, before I went away I did not know 
what a big place the world was, and so I was perfectly 
satisfied to remain here; but I have seen a lot since I've 
been gone a lot of countries and men and I realize 
how much there is outside the borders of Belleport. I 
realize, too, what a vast deal there is to learn, and how 
much there is to be done everywhere. Somehow, since 
I've had a part in helping to clean up the universe and 
make it more decent, I want to keep right on. You don't 
sense, staying at home here, what a bully country ours 
is, if only we live up to the best in it. You can't go 
through what we fellows have and simply not care. It 
all gets hold of you. You want America to be finer and 
you want to be finer yourself." 

As if unconscious of his father's presence, his eyes 
wandered to the horizon, whose sharply defined line was 
fast melting into violet mistiness. 

While I was at one of the camps, waiting to get into 
the mix-up," went on Dick reminiscently, ' : I had a chance 
to do some studying engineering, economics, and stuff 
like that. It opened up a new world to me, I can tell 
you. I decided right then, that when I came home I'd 
chuck clamming and fishing and try for something 
bigger." 

If the words were cruel the boy was too deeply in 
earnest to be cognizant of the fact. 



MARTHA'S PROPHECY FULFILLED 67 

"You mean to go away to college?' faltered Jake 
Morton. 

" Perhaps not college, Father. I'm too old for that 
now, and besides I've had no preparation and couldn't 
get in. I'd have to go into 1 business of some sort." 

For the first time a wave of self-consciousness swept 
over the speaker, leaving a blush behind it, and when he 
continued it was to speak carefully as if he were choos- 
ing his words. 

" A good position isn't so easy to find. They don't 
grow on trees in a large city. But my Colonel has of- 
fered me a job in his banking house. I I happened 
to be able to do something for him while I was across 
and he wants to give me a lift." 

" There' d be your board an' room if you w r as to go to 
the city, an 5 they'd cost money/' objected Morton, senior. 

" Oh, I should be earning enough to cover all that." 

" He's goin' to start you in at a good figure, then? ' 

" Yes, I guess so. But I imagine he'd do as much even 
if the business didn't merit it." 

"Why?" 

" Oh, it is a long and mixecl-up story," answered Dick, 
digging his foot awkwardly into the sand and watching 
the impression of his heel fill slowly with water. You 
see, his daughter was over there doing canteen work with 
the Red Cross. She was stationed quite near my post 
and one day the infernal Huns bombed the place blew 
it higher than a kite. A few of us Yanks happened to 
be on the scene, and well her father got the notion 
that if we hadn't rushed in just when we did . It was 
a nasty business, I'll admit. In spite of all we could do, 
some of the women died. But Margaret ' 

"The daughter?" 

" Yes, Miss Wilmot," explained Dick with confusion. 
" Luckily she escaped serious injury. In fact, I hap- 



68 GRANITE AND CLAY 

pened to come home on the same ship with her and her 
father." 

" Oh ! " 

" Yes," said Dick in an offhand tone, nervously re- 
peating the assertion, ' both she and the Colonel were 
aboard my ship. They live in Boston." 

Morton, senior, was silent. It was as if he had stum- 
bled upon a hidden mine, the existence of which he had 
not suspected. Being a slow man mentally it took a lit- 
tle time for him to right his ideas. It was, then, neither 
chagrined pride nor a broken heart that was taking Dick 
to Boston; nor was it wholly the craving for a career. 
These might be the factors that figured in the foreground ; 
but in the background, whether Dick sensed it or not, was 
a woman's beckoning hand. Mr. Morton's days may 
have been passed with only ships and sun and sand for 
company, but he was a clear-sighted reader of human 
nature nevertheless. Therefore when he advanced the 
guarded query, 

' An' what is this this Miss Wilmot goin' to do, 
now the war is over? I s'pose she's come home uneasy 
as you," he was taken aback to receive the reply : 

1 1 believe she is to be married. She has been en- 
gaged for a long time to an Englishman who has charge 
of her father's London office." 

The young soldier traced an elaborate pattern in the 
hard beach sand. 

'And was he on the ship, too?" came from Dick's 
father. 

' No, oh, no ! ' was the terse reply. " He was 
London." 



CHAPTER IX 

A WAY OUT OF A DILEMMA 

ANY one thoroughly understanding Penelope would 
very soon have realized that the upward tilt of her chin; 
her smiling lips and her sharp repartee were but devices 
to conceal from detection a wound so acute that it rankled 
day and night with burning intensity. Inherently proud 
and high-spirited, the girl's self-esteem had been dragged 
in the very dust by Dick Morton's censure, and although 
she was honest enough to admit the justice of the de- 
nunciation, the knowledge that it was merited did not 
make it any easier to bear. To the depths of her. being 
she was mortified humiliated. 

Up to the present she had, as if by instinct, acted an 
imaginary part. Now, again she acted; but this time a 
very real emotion impelled her and her acting became 
both deliberate and conscious. No longer did she depict 
art for art's sake. Her masquerading was transformed 
into a defense. She must let neither Dick Morton nor 
her family know how his words had stung or how the 
cadence of their scorn still echoed in her ears. 

He had come back penitent the day after he had spoken 
and pleaded earnestly that she reconsider her decision; 
but with self-restraint and courtesy she had dismissed 
him, firmly refusing to renew their former relation. The 
engagement was better broken, declared she with a pleas- 
ant smile. Such mistakes often occurred and were but 
episodic. How fortunate that each of them had discov- 
ered the error before it was too late to remedy it ! 



70 GRANITE AND CLAY 

And she had colored charmingly when they parted; 
taken his hand and wished him every sort of good for- 
tune, leaving the discomforted young soldier with a real- 
ization that since yesterday the tables had shifted and 
that it was now 4 he who was put to rout. Here, con- 
fessed the bewildered hero, was a new Penelope. What 
had become of the sensitive dreamer, the poet of clouds 
and sunsets? Like a wraith of the mists, existing only 
in the imagination of the seer, she had vanished, and in 
her stead there remained a worldling whose coquetry and 
artifice, irritating as it was, awoke one's admiration. 
Her gayety was high-pitched, her laughter hard, her in- 
difference cutting in its mockery. Why, she even dared 
to banter him with having imbibed the French volatility ! 
The soul that had for a moment lain quivering and naked 
before his gaze on that fateful day of his return where 
was it now? Apparently it had either been a creation 
of his fancy and never actually existed, or it had van- 
ished altogether. Not for an instant would Penelope 
be serious. As if transformed by a fairy wand she had 
become as finished an actress as ever trod the board of 
playhouse. 

When afterward the two met in the village, as it was 
unavoidable they should do, she continued to preserve 
her demeanor of friendly politeness and jesting irony 
until under the lash of her tongue Dick fumed and chaffed 
and onlookers speculated, stared, and marveled. Penel- 
ope, bowed with grief to absolute inertia, had been a 
spiritless, pitiable creature, but this Penelope, with head 
held high and lips that laughed, was the epitome of wit 
and animation. 

Checking every expression of sympathy her family 
ventured to offer, she had locked in a chest in the garret 
the crisp white lawn, dainty edgings and blue ribbons that 
had busied her during the first happy days of her ro- 



A WAY OUT OF A DILEMMA 71 

aiance, and without a word had plunged vigorously into 
the domestic duties of the home. She brewed and baked, 
cleaned and polished, washed and ironed and all to the 
tune of a gay little song which she hummed so merrily 
that it would have taken a musician of trained ear indeed 
to detect in the melody any vibration of the sinister. 

Even the Old Captain was sufficiently misled to believe 
her quite happy and assert to< his daughters that praise 
the Lord, Penelope was her old self again. 

As for the girl, the strain under which she lived was 
almost more than flesh and blood could endure. Never 
for a moment could she relax the tension or drop the 
mask that concealed her real feelings. Should she do 
so her aunts, whose eyes scrutinized her every mood, 
would be quick to surprise her secret. Both they and her 
grandfather had become so apprehensive that there was 
not a place in the house where she could go without some 
one tagging after her to bear her company lest she be sad 
or lonely. That this motive was well intentioned Penel- 
ope knew and therefore she tried valiantly to accept the 
kindness with tolerance. But if they would only let her 
alone ! 

Still there was one mitigating circumstance. If the 
house held no solitude, at least Belleport contained cor- 
ners that were remote, and to one of these, a secluded 
little inlet that cut a path across the meadows, Penelope 
escaped on a day when the solicitude of her relatives 
could be endured no longer with graciousness. The 
winter had been a mild one and already the soft breath 
of coming spring tempered the air. There was a hint 
of green in the salt marsh grass, a flicker of yellow in 
the stems of the willows. The little curve of beach where 
the creek made in was sheltered by a group of silvered 
fish shanties and in the lee of them, where the sun poured 
down, Penelope took refuge. 



72 GRANITE AND CLAY 

It Was a silent place. Save for the lapping of the 
water among the reeds that edged the stream, and the 
rhythmic breaking of the waves where sea and rivulet 
joined, there was not a sound. Eefore her stretched the 
ocean, as blank and infinite as her own empty future. 
They seemed strangely akin that day, and in harmony 
with the sobbing of the heaving expanse she threw her- 
self down and began to cry as if her heart would break. 
It was the first time she had given way and oh, the relief 
of it! Had she been asked why she was weeping, it is 
doubtful if she could have told. Certainly not for Dick 
Morton, whom she now realized she had never loved. 
Perhaps it was for her disappointed hopes, the destruc- 
tion of the air castles she had builded ; or was the outburst 
only the accumulation of a general, indefinable misery? 
Who could tell? Certainly not. Penelope, although she 
sobbed and sobbed, her face buried in her hands, and her 
slender form shaking convulsively. 

So lost was she in grief and so assured of solitude that 
the thought of an intruder did not enter her mind and 
the footfall of the trespasser upon her peace was entirely 
unheard. That the newcomer was city bred his carefully 
tailored suit of tweed acclaimed, and the ease with which 
he wore it, together with an olive-drab sweater, rub- 
ber-soled shoes and negligee collar and tie, made it evi- 
dent that he was quite at home in the athletic garb of 
the out-of-doors. Erect and ruddy-cheeked he came on 
with free stride up the beach, his head thrown back 
and his powerful lungs drinking in the intoxication 
of the day. That he, too, thought he was alone was 
evinced by the fact that he* was whistling beneath his 
breath the march from A'ida to which he buoyantly kept 
step. 

For all the youth fulness of his figure, however, one 
could see, as he drew nearer, that he was not really young 



A WAY OUT OF A DILEMMA 73 

but a man in the glory of his strength. Either to enjoy 
the breeze or because the exertion of his rapid walk had 
made him warm, he had removed his soft felt hat, and 
his fine head, with its closely cropped iron-gray hair, was 
visible. One could see, too, his keen dark eyes ; the nose 
large but not ill formed; and the smooth-shaven lip and 
chin, deeply chiseled and resolute. He was a person of 
force and intelligence; one to command and to see that 
his commands were obeyed. Nevertheless there was 
kindliness in the somewhat severe features and a saving 
twinkle in his eyes which lent a magnetic quality to his 
personality. 

As he approached closer still it became apparent that 
he also had as his goal the shelter of the gray fish houses, 
for as he reached them he drew from his pocket a briar- 
wood pipe which, with anticipatory earnestness, he began 
to fill from a pouch of soft leather. Even the match 
was alight and ready in his hand when his gaze was sud- 
denly arrested by Penelope lying huddled and weeping in 
the shadow of the old green dory. 

" My word ! " ejaculated he with a start. " I beg your 
pardon, young woman, but are you hurt ? ' 

Startled Penelope raised her head, her tear-stained 
countenance showing wan in the blazing sunlight. 

" No I'm not hurt/' she contrived to gasp out, 
turning hurriedly away. " There is nothing the matter." 
A nervous sob concluded the sentence. 

" But there must be something the matter since you 
cry like this." 

" It's nothing," she repeated, still panting with emotion 
and struggling to regain her composure. 

He watched as she sat up, drew out her handkerchief 
and mopped her eyes. Then she wheeled a thin shoul- 
der sulkily upon him as if ashamed at being discovered 
in such a humiliating plight and, dropping her head, made 



74 GRANITE AND CLAY 

it apparent that she wished he would leave her. But 
the man was not to be rebuffed. 

" You have been crying yourself all to bits," declared 
he with pitiless directness. 

" I know it," snapped Penelope. " I've a right to if 
I choose." 

: Undoubtedly you have," agreed the stranger. 
' Nevertheless by so doing you have aroused my curios- 
ity. What can such a storm of tears be about, if it is 
not too great an impertinence to inquire ? J 

Beneath the bantering words reechoing with blended 
irony and sympathy, Penelope felt the last shred of her 
dignity slip away. 

c I'm just miserable," she blurted out childishly. 
" Oh ! " 

: Don't you ever feel wretched ? ' persisted she, with 
rising spirit. 

Well er not often to the extent of tears," an- 
swered he, flashing her a smile. 

That's because you're a man and can do as you 
please," asserted she. "If I could do as I like, I 
shouldn't cry either." 

1 So it's because you can't have your own way that 
you are crying ! " he announced. 
Penelope flushed. 

j. 

Well, suppose you could do as you pleased, what 
then? : he went on with a touch of cynicism. "What 
would you do or can't you answer that question? 
Some women can't. They merely want whatever they 
haven't." 

The playful derision in the words stung the girl to 
quick retort 

' I know perfectly well what I want," declared she. 
: I'd leave Belleport to-morrow and my aunts, too. I 
want to be by myself." 



A WAY OUT OF A DILEMMA 75 

" That is rather a broad hint to me, isn't it? ! 

In spite of herself, Penelope smiled. 

" Well, and once out of Belleport, what next ? ' he 
persisted. 

" Why " for an instant she hesitated, then rushed 
on, " I'd go to the city and live there and write a book." 

" Mercy on us ! ' 

She was rewarded by seeing him start at her impetuous 
announcement. 

" And why not write here? " he presently interrogated, 
coming back to his former quizzical manner. 

" Oh, I can't. Aunt Martha and Aunt Elizabeth run 
after me every minute. They never let me go off alone." 

" Humph ! " reflected the man. He seemed to be con- 
sidering her plaint. " So you wish to write, do you ? ' 
he at length inquired. 

" Yes." 

" Ever done anything of the sort ? ' 

Penelope shook her head. 

" No," she owned. " But I've wanted to." 

" You couldn't have wanted to* very much or you would 
have done it," was the sharp response. 

" But I never realized until just now that that was 
what I wanted to do," smiled Penelope, a flicker of mer- 
riment in her jade eyes. 

" The career comes as a sudden inspiration, eh ? ' 

" You're making fun of me," she asserted with an in- 
jured air. 

" Not a whit. I am just trying to understand." 

" I've always had stories at the back of my mind," 
explained Penelope, after studying his face a moment 
and finding it quite grave. " I've never put them down 
on paper, to be sure, but I've thought them out just the 



same." 



" I see.' 



76 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" I've lived plays, too," she went on more to herself 
than to him. ' Always from the time I was a little girl 
I've been being somebody else. My engagement to* Dick 
was part of the play ; so was his going to the war, and all 
the rest. It was just something I was acting out." 

Her listener made no comment. 

" And now I've come to a new act and something has 
got to happen; and as long as I'm the heroine, it's got 
to happen to me, don't you see? Even though I do not 
know yet what the rest of the story is, I am sure there 
must be more to it. It would not be finished were it to 
stop now." 

"Not even if you married eh Dick? Most 
stories end that way." 

" I never shall marry Dick Morton," shot out Penel- 
ope, infuriated. " And anyway, he has gone to Boston, 
so in future I do not expect to see him. Besides, I don't 
want to marry him now." 

" Then that settles that ! " nodded the man with an ex- 
aggerated impressiveness that made it evident the con- 
versation was affording him rare entertainment. You 
certainly shouldn't do it. Now, if I were you," con- 
tinued he, " I should get some paper and pencils, go up 
in the attic, bolt the door, and write out the whole ro- 
mance that you have been living. Get it out of your 
system. You will feel much better afterward." 

Although Penelope scanned his face with suspicion, no 
hint of humor lurked in it. 

" But but the end ? ' persisted she with uncer- 



' Oh, you can make up the last chapters to suit your- 
self. Write several endings and take your choice." 

The girl let the sand play through her fingers without 
replying. 

I'm f raid you have been very unhappy," ventured 



: 



A WAY OUT OF A DILEMMA 77 

her companion in a softened tone, regarding her with 
more attention. 

" I've been utterly miserable." 

In reply to the naive confession he seemed about to 
frame an impulsive response but checked himself, saying: 

" Sob it all out on paper and have done with it. You 
will be surprised to find what a relief it will be." 

"And afterwards?" 

"Afterwards? Oh, you can put the manuscript away 
and when you are an old lady read it to your grandchil- 
dren ; or you can ' he was going to add burn it had 
she not completed the sentence with the unexpected 
words : 

" Publish it." 

Why, yes. Publish it by all means if you want to. 
There is always room for another book if it is a good 
one," retorted he with an ironic chuckle. 

Penelope rose and put out her hand. 

" I'm afraid I've been silly and childish to cry," apol- 
ogized she with winning simplicity. 

Quickly the man waved her remark aside. 

" You had a perfect right to cry if you wished. You 
got here first," he smiled. ' Had I not come uninvited 
into your solitude I should not have known anything 
about it." 

His smile was delightful and she smiled in return. 

" Well, I shan't cry any more," she announced. " I 
shall take your advice and go straight to writing." 

" My advice ! But, my dear child, I haven't given you 
any advice least of all advised you to write. That is 
the last thing on earth I should advise a person to do." 
He spoke sharply. 

"Why?" 

" Oh, because there are enough dabblers in the profes- 
sion already," he burst out irritably. " The world is full 



78 GRANITE AND CLAY 

of people who think they can write. Besides, I make it 
a principle never to give advice to anybody." 

" You did to me." 

" But I tell you I didn't," he protested. " Haven't you 
any sense of humor? Now don't go running off with the 
notion that you are going to take up writing and become 
a literary genius for you will only be disappointed. 
Geniuses are few. Good literature is ten per cent, in- 
spiration and ninety per cent, hard work. It is no 
smooth, flowery path. Besides, the profession is over- 
crowded already. Mind what I say, for I know what I 
am talking about. You settle right down here in Belle- 
port, like a sensible young lady, with your aunts and 
other relatives; marry that what's-his-name Dick 
Morton, and live happily ever afterward. That's the 
thing for you to do." 

The tone in which he spoke was gentle and soothing, 
even caressing, as if he addressed a child. In the mean- 
time he had risen from the edge of the empty dory where 
he had been jauntily perched and once more drawn from 
his pocket his unlighted pipe which he now placed between 
his lips. 

" Good luck to you and Mr. Morton," remarked he, 
bowing as he moved away through a film of delicate 
smoke. 

" I shall never, never marry Dick Morton ! ' Penelope 
cried, hurling the words defiantly after him. 

From the widening distance a peal of laughter reached 
her ear. 

When you write your novel," called the man over 
his shoulder, ' ' do not forget to make your heroine a lady 
of spirit, for I believe you could portray that type to 
perfection." 

It was not until the departing figure was dwarfed 
against the distant dunes and finally lost behind the jut- 



A WAY OUT OF A DILEMMA 79 

ting peak of one of them that Penelope noticed the long 
blue envelope lying at her feet. It was unmistakably a 
business communication which had been opened and read 
and which must have slipped from the stranger's pocket. 
She reached for it and held it up in the blaze of the noon- 
tide sunshine. 

Staring with bewildered eyes she read the address : 

MR. GORDON HAMILTON, 
BECK & HAMILTON, PUBLISHERS, 
WASHINGTON ST., 

BOSTON, MASS. 

For an instant, a smile of incredulity curved her lips; 
then as if the coincidence were too amazing to be real, 
she laughed a laugh so hearty and musical that it re- 
echoed across the silent beach and startled into flight a 
group of tiny sandpipers coquetting at the water's edge 
with the foam of the incoming tide. 

Again and yet again, as if to fix the clear black super- 
scription in her memory, she read the typewritten charac- 
ters on the envelope. Then tossing her head with a ges- 
ture of challenge toward the path that the stranger had 
taken, she thrust the letter into her blouse and turned 
thoughtfully home along the margin of the inlet 



CHAPTER X 

PENELOPE MAKES THE PLUNGE 

" WHAT on earth can Penelope be up to in the garret, 
Martha?' fretted Miss Elizabeth a week later. " She's 
there mornin', noon an' night. I went up yesterday to 
see if I could make out what was keepin' her, an' there 
she sat on a little stool, writin' away on the top of Uncle 
'Lisha's old sea chest. When I asked her couldn't she 
find any better place than that to write she just told me 
to go away, please, an' not bother her. She had a ream 
of paper, I guess, all scrawled over an* scratched up. 
Who can she be writin' to ? ' 

" I'm sure I don't know, Eliza/' replied her sister pa- 
tiently. " You better let her alone. Whatever she's 
up to it seems to be keepin' her contented anyhow, an' 
I'm thankful for that." 

" But who can she be writin' to" persisted Elizabeth, 
with a curiosity not to be turned aside. You don't 
s'pose it's Dick, do you? ' 

"Dick Morton? Mercy, no! What would she be 
writin' to him for when she's had no letters from him ? ' 
' But she must be writin' to somebody," complained 
Elizabeth, ' or else gettin' ready to, an' tryin' to make 
up her mind what to say. She's got somethin' in her 
head, you may be sure of that. For a week she's been 
like one possessed. She seems to grudge every minute 
she spends out of that attic. Why, ain't you noticed 



PENELOPE MAKES THE PLUNGE 81 

how like pullin' teqth it is to get her to do anything 'round 
the house? Yesterday she was quite tart with me when 
I asked her to fill the lamps an' help with the ironin'. 
Seems like she's droppin' back into moonin' all by her- 
self just as she did before. Often she'll sit out on the 
steps an' do nothin' but stare at the ocean. What's come 
over her ? ' 

Martha shook her head wearily. At times she found 
Elizabeth's inquisitiveness very annoying. 

" Do you think Pa notices it ? ' 

" How should I know ? ' was the evasive answer. 

" Ain't he mentioned it to you? ' 

" Oh, he just thinks Penelope's got a spell of wantin' 
to be by herself," Martha returned. " He says to let her 
alone." 

" But she went an' moped by herself before." 

" She ain't mopin' now." 

" What makes you so sure of that ? ' 

"Can't you see the difference?' demanded Martha, 
wheeling on her sister with an impatient intonation. 
" She's happier than she was happier than she's been 
for a long time." 

" But it's so odd of her not to want other folks 'round. 
I admire to set an' talk with' people an' it's beyond my 
comprehension why Penelope shouldn't. If she don't 
watch out she'll be gettin' queer like Lucia Hill." 

" Nonsense ! " 

" But folks are driven crazy by goin' off an* broodin'. 
You know that as well as I do. Besides, it looks so 
strange just as if she didn't like her relations. I'm 
sure the neighbors must notice she ain't never round the 
house." 

Martha made no response. 

" I do hope she won't do anything more to make gos- 
sip," continued Elizabeth. " For close onto three years 



82 GRANITE AND CLAY 

now Penelope's been the talk of the town an' so have we. 
Nobody can make out what this fuss between her an' 
Dick Morton was about, an' I, for one, don't blame 'em 
for wantin' to know. Why shouldn't they, with all of 
us air all the Mortons close-mouthed as clams about it? 
The very fact we've all kept so mum must make 'em want 
to find out mor'n ever. Still, if they was to be told, I 
don't believe they could make head nor tail out of it. I'm 
sure I can't an' I've been in the middle of the mess all 
the time." 

She sighed as she stroked the gathers in the apron she 
was making. 

" I believe there's folks in this town this minute who 
think Penelope's plumb out of her head," she presently 
announced. 

Elizabeth's random surmise was, in point of fact, much 
more accurate than she or any of the Aliens suspected, 
for Belleport, miffed at having its curiosity balked, had 
already begun to whisper insidious comments about Penel- 
ope and her forbears. 

The girl was peculiar; she unquestionably was. Her 
father had been so before her. Likely the Old Deacon 
knew more about John Turner than he had been willing 
to tell or he never would have shunted Mary off after her 
marriage the way he did. There were probably things 
in the man's history that would not bear inspection, per- 
haps criminal things. Who could say ? Mary, too, must 
have been eccentric or she never would have taken up 
with such a husband. 

With such unbalanced parents what could be expected 
of the daughter? The Aliens had done wrong in trying 
to foist her off on a nice boy like Dick Morton. Poor 
fellow! Well, he had had a fortunate escape and he 
probably thought so too, for it was plain he had not lin- 
gered in Belleport with any desire of renewing the con- 



PENELOPE MAKES THE PLUNGE 83 

nection. No, indeed! Generously as he had hushed up 
the affair, it had not taken him long to shake both Penel- 
ope and the sands of the Cape from off his feet and make 
for Boston. A splendid lad, Dick Morton. His rela- 
tives did not have to blush for him. 

How hard it must be for the Aliens, after taking the 
girl into the house, to have her turn out so! Especially 
hard on the Old Captain. Of course he wouldn't say so; 
he wouldn't be likely to a man of his pride. Still, it 
must be a gnawing and rankling trial to him. Seem's 
if he'd had his share of troubles with two generations of 
queer, willful women. Lately he'd looked bad an' who 
could wonder? Such trials take hold of folks an' he 
wasn't young any longer. Why, he must be going on 
seventy- four. 

Thus day by day did the snowball of calumny roll up, 
each idle tongue adding its damaging mite until the ru- 
mors so thoughtlessly started seeped into the ears of 
Penelope herself. 

It was Aunt Elizabeth who was the message bearer 
and responsible for her final enlightenment to the crit- 
icism that seethed about her. 

" I can't think why you should go wanderin' off by 
yourself so much, Penelope," grumbled she one evening, 
when the girl was taking her small glass lamp from the 
kitchen shelf and preparing to vanish to her room. 
" Seems 'sif you'd be much better off downstairs here 
with the rest of us. Anybody 'd think you'd rather be 
sociable with your folks than go pokin' off alone, writin' 
all the time. People don't know what to make of you 
when you act so queer an* won't go nowheres a-neigh- 
borin'*. It sets 'em talking an' goodness knows you've 
been talked about enough already." 

Penelope colored and drew in her chin. 

" I don't care what people say," replied she defiantly. 



84 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" But I do ; an' so does your Aunt Martha and your 
grandfather. It's awful mortifyin' to have you goin' on 
like this." 

The girl started as if a missile had struck her. It was 
the first time she realized that her conduct reacted on 
others. 

'Mortifying!' she repeated. 

Yes," faltered Elizabeth, rushing on as if impelled 
to do so by the expression she saw in her niece's face. 
" You don't want folks to think you're like Lucia Hill 
do you ? Some of 'em do already an' I ain't sure myself 
but if you don't quit all this writin' an' moonin' you will 
be, too. 'Tain't normal." 

She paused breathlessly, not a little terrified by Penel- 
ope's silence. 

Well, at least she had said her say. She had not in- 
tended at the outset to blurt out the truth, and now that 
she had done so and done it against Martha's express 
commands, she felt, not a little frightened. How angry 
her sister would be with her for her meddling; and her 
father, too, should he find it out ! 

With a desperate desire to' efface the effect of her 
words she added hastily : 

"Of course, we all know here at home there ain't really 
anything the matter with you leastways, not yet ; an' 
you can show other people your mind's clear as theirs 
if you'll just stop all this settin' alone in the attic an* 
go round with 'em same's the rest of us do." 

Still Penelope did not speak. 

There, there ! ' ' continued her aunt, every instant be- 
coming more and more panic-stricken at what she had 
done, ' I wouldn't think no more about it if I was you. 
Folks \vill talk, you know, same's the wind will blow. 
Your grandfather often says that's the only way you can 
tell 'em from the animals," she tittered weakly. 



PENELOPE MAKES THE PLUNGE 85 

Once more she came- to a halt to hear only the ominous 
ticking of the kitchen clock. 

" I'm sorry if I've hurt your feelin's," declared she 
with genuine distress. * Still, mebbe now the milk is 
spilt it's as well you shpuld know what's bein' said about 
you." 

" Yes, I am glad to know," came quietly from 
Penelope. 

" An' you ain't mad ?" 

" At you for tellin' me? Not at all." 

Elizabeth drew a deep breath of relief. She had es- 
caped from the results of her misdeed easier than she had 
dared hope. Nevertheless had she but known it the end 
was not yet. Like circles that ripple in a pool after a 
missile has disturbed the quiet of its waters, so the 
thoughts she awakened in Penelope's mind widened, until 
culminating into resolve the girl approached her grand- 
father one evening when, he sat smoking alone on the 
doorstep. 

A fog was drifting in from the bay, bringing with it 
the tang of sea-swept caverns and salt marshes. Already 
the dunes towering white in the mists were being lost to 
view in a veil of gray, and the impenetrable curtain en- 
veloping them was advancing, shrouding one object after 
another in mysterious unreality. 

As Penelope sat down close to her grandfather, in the 
lee of the covered porch, he looked at her with inquiring 
eyes. 

" Why, Penelope ! What brings you out here in all 
the dampness, child? You'll be drenched to the skin. 
Much better stay inside." 

" But I want to talk to you, Grandfather." 

He started uneasily. 

" What's gone wrong, little girl ? ' Awkwardly he 
reached out his hand toward hers. 



86 GRANITE AND CLAY 



' Nothing," was the monosyllabic reply. ' Or rather, 
to speak honestly, everything, Grandfather." 

" They haven't been hurtin' your feelin's? ' 

"Oh, no!" 

Had he had less of the granite of New England in 
him, he would probably have drawn her toward him; as 
it was he contented himself with patting her hand. 

" I want to go to Boston, Grandfather," blurted out 
the girl, stripping her desire of any cumbersome intro- 
duction. 

The old man eyed her suspiciously, the thought of Dick 
Morton leaping to his mind. 

"What for?" 

Had she asked to go to India the request could not 
have been more astounding. 

" I want to do something go to work." 

" You mean to to stay there ? Live ? ' stam- 
mered Captain Jabez, aghast. 

" Yes." 

" But, child, there's work enough to be done at home. 
Besides, you've no call to earn your living." 

" I'd like to." 

She saw him stiffen with disapproval. 

" No women folks of mine ever earned their bread an' 
butter yet an' I don't mean they ever shall," replied he, 
bridling. " I can take care of my family." Then let- 
ting his eyes travel over her face he added, ' Who's been 
talkin' to you, Penelope? ' 

" Nobody, Grandfather." 

" Humph! An' they better not either," he growled. 

He puffed viciously at his pipe and both were silent. 

" But can't you understand, Grandad, that it would 
be fun for me to do something? " questioned she timidly, 
at last gaining courage to break the long pause. 

" What on earth could you do, I'd like to know? ' 



PENELOPE MAKES THE PLUNGE 87 

" Oh, I'd find something," was the vague reply. 

" I'm sure I don't know of anything you're fitted for 
except to stay at home," snorted her grandfather with 
crushing severity. ' If you were to go to the city they'd 
set you to washiii' dishes in a hotel, or bein' a waitress 
in some restaurant. I wouldn't listen to that no mor'n 
I'd cut off my head." 

" But I do things like that at home," returned Penelope 
with spirit. 

" That's different. You ain't doin' it for money." 

The girl caught her underlip between her pretty white 
teeth as if to hold back some retort she feared might 
escape her; then brushing from her forehead the moist 
rings of hair that curled there she said more gently : 

" I don't believe I'd have to do dish-washing to earn 
my living, Grandfather. I am sure I could find an oc- 
cupation in the city ladylike enough to please even you. 
Many splendid women earn their living now, you know." 

" They're educated for it," was the brutal answer. 
" They've been to night schools an' colleges, an' the Lord 
only knows what. But you don't know nothin'. Be- 
sides, there'd be your room an' board they'd cost a 
sight of money." 

For the first time the practical aspect of the question 
came to Penelope and the hope in her face dulled to dis- 
appointment. 

" I suppose they would," she admitted. 

" It would just make another big expense an' I don't 
see how I could ' 

" But I should be supporting myself, Grandfather 
dear." 

A likely probability ! ' 
I am sure I could. Other girls do." 
" An' live in an attic in some slum, with nothin' to eat. 
No, siree ! None of my women folks will ever go to the 



ft 
t( 



88 GRANITE AND CLAY 

city to starve while I have my health an' can prevent it. 
With the fishin' I do, the clammin', an' the little I've got 
put away, I look to provide for those belongin' to me, 
thanks to nobody." 

Taking out his pipe the old man knocked it free of 
ashes against the piazza rail, thrust it into his pocket and 
prepared to rise. 

Penelope caught his hand desperately. 
f It isn't alone because I want to earn my living, 
Grandfather, that I want to go to Boston," said she 
hurriedly. ' I'm not happy. Please, please don't think 
that I am ungrateful, or that it is your fault. You do 
everything in the world for me and always have, and I 
do? appreciate it. But the life here at home is so hard. 
Can't you see ? Everybody in town watches and gossips 
about me and so do Aunt Martha and Aunt Elizabeth. 
They don't mean to and they wouldn't be unkind for the 
;world. But they don't understand me and think me pe- 
culiar. So does everybody else in Belleport. I never 
can have a minute's freedom. Wherever I go somebody 
is sure to prance after me and want to know what I am 
doing. If I could get away where nobody knew me and 
where people had never heard of my engagement to Dick 
Morton " 

Once more the old suspicion crossed the Captain's mind 
and he shot a quick glance at her face from beneath his 
beetling brows. 

" Young Morton's in Boston, ain't he? ' 

He saw a burning blush mount to the girl's forehead 
and instantly realized that she had read his thought. 

" I suppose he is," confessed she coldly. ' However, 
the city is large and it is unlikely we should meet, espe- 
cially as we both would be working. And even if we 
did, what of that? We have met here ia Belleport and 
have contrived to live in spite of it." 



PENELOPE MAKES THE PLUNGE 89 

She heard him breathe deeply. 
" Then you're not " 

' In love with Dick now ? ' interposed Penelope calm- 
ly. ' Not a bit, Grandfather. You need have no wor- 
ries on that score. You did not for one moment suspect 
that I was pursuing 1 Dick to Boston, did you? ' 

Again she heard him sigh -this time more pro- 
foundly. 

' I didn't know what to think," was his candid answer. 
Women are strange critters an' this idea of yours for 
goin' to the city an' all is so queer an' sudden." 

' It is not sudden with me," smiled Penelope. " I 
have been thinking* about it for days. Of course if it 
would cost too much ' 

'Pooh! I could manage that all right, if I set out 
to," retorted the Old Cap'n, drawing in his chin with the 
hauteur the girl herself often showed. "If once I made 
up my mind that the notion was the one for you to take 
up with, everything else could be fixed, I guess. It's 
what you'd do after you got to Boston that's puzzlin' 



me.' 



In the last sentence Penelope recognized success, 
and with a light of triumph in her eyes, dimpled. She 
did not, however, speak at once and when she did it 
was with a diffidence quite foreign to her. 

' I think I could earn money by writing, Grandfather," 
said she in a low tone. 

" Writin' ! Writin' what ? Letters an' such ? " 
"No, Grandfather, not letters stories, books/' 
Captain Jabez started to reply but evidently found no 
fitting words in which to acclaim this preposterous sug- 
gestion. 

1 1 have been writing some already here at home," 
continued Penelope, " and I believe I might do something 1 
really good if I had a quieter place to work." 



90 GRANITE AND CLAY 



" An' you think the city of Boston would be quieter 
than Belleport, eh ? ' 

In spite of the derision in the words Penelope broke 
into a laugh. 

"It does sound ridiculous, doesn't it?*' confessed she 
with delightful good-humor. What I really meant was 
that if I were by myself in Boston I should be less in- 
terrupted." 

" Mebbe ! ' nodded Captain- Jabez. " But who in 
heaven's name do you think would pay you any money 
for what you'd write? " queried he, blending ridicule with 
kindliness. 

The answer he received staggered him with its ex- 
plicitness. 

" Mr. Gordon Hamilton," returned Penelope softly. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE TRIUMPH OF PENELOPE 

HAVING won her point Penelope, feverish to be gone, 
began to make ready for her departure into the great 
world. Her preparations were simple enough and con- 
sisted mainly in washing and mending her scanty ward- 
robe and making it as fresh and attractive as she could. 
She must not expect a trousseau for the city, that she 
realized, for her leaving home put sufficient burden on 
the family purse as it was. Tnere were even moments 
when her conscience plagued her a trifle and she won- 
dered if she were asking too much and just how much of 
an effort Grandfather Allen was making to gratify her 
wish. Was it really a tax on his income to let her go 
away ? 

However, youth is sanguine and, biased by her desires, 
she at length dismissed these thoughts. 

Ever since her advent into the home had she not heard 
him grumble and plead poverty? And yet without de- 
viation from their standard of modest comfort the house- 
hold had lived on. His peevishness on this subject was 
chronic simply a trait of character that carried with 
it no real significance. He always objected to spending 
money and detested being asked for it. Yet if one could 
summon the courage and place a cause before him in an 
appealing light, the sum desired was in the end produced 
and after the customary haggling, delivered up. 

Hence there was nothing unusual in his casting cold 



92 GRANITE AND CLAY 

water over her proposal and after a few qualms of con- 
science the girl thought no more of his reluctance. She 
was going to Boston and in that exultant thought every- 
thing else was forgotten. 

But her aunts, Penelope soon discovered, did not ac- 
cept the plan with equal unconcern and pleasure. 

" I should think Pa was plumb out of his mind to let 
that child go prancin' off alone to the city ! ' announced 
Elizabeth to Martha. " Why, I'd as soon blindfold her 
an' send her into a den of lions. What does she know 
about the world, a girl of her age? ' 

" It does seem pretty venturesome," was Martha's 
guarded response, trying as she always did to calm her 
excitable sister. 

" Venturesome ! I should say it did ! It is a mad 
notion, if you was to ask my opinion. An' what's she 
goin' to do when she gets there, I'd like to know? 
Nothin' ! Nothin' at all but fritter away all the money 
we have scrimped years to save." 

" Oh, she won't stay long, likely," answered Martha 
soothingly. " She's just uneasy an' wants a change. I 
expect all young people go through a stage when they 
think they're goin' to set the world afire. Then they go 
out an' try doin' it, an' after findin' they're no great 
punkins, they come creepin' home again, convinced it's 
the best place on earth." 

" Penelope won't," asserted Elizabeth not won over 
by Martha's comfortable generalizations. " Once she 
gets out from under this roof there'll be no coaxin' her 
back again. She's had this thing up her sleeve for a long 
time I ain't sure but she's always had it an' now 
she's contrived to wriggle Pa round to her point of view. 
How she ever did it beats me. To begin with, I don't 
see where he's goin' to get the money from." 

" That's puzzled me some, too," Martha admitted 



THE TRIUMPH OF PENELOPE 93 

thoughtfully. ' I imagined he'd been kinder hard 
pushed for cash lately. Still, you never can tell with Pa. 
He's always on the verge of goin' to the poorhouse." 

" Well, all I can say is I wouldn't durst ask him to let 
me go falutin* off to the city," sniffed Elizabeth. 1 1 
guess if I did he'd put a quietus on me pretty quick." 

" You ain't Penelope's age, Eliza." 

" No, I ain't," snapped her sister, " though I don't see 
as you've got cause to remind me of it, Martha." 

"I warn't remindin' you of it. How silly! I just 
meant that it's the older heads that hold the brains." 

' I s'pose Penelope will know more when she's my 
age," admitted Elizabeth, slightly mollified. ' She's got 
to get her experience. That's what Pa keeps say in' every 
time I try to talk him out of lettin' Penelope go. ' She's 
got to get her experience/ says he. I'm sure I don't 
know what she's been doin' up to now but gettin' expe- 
rience. If I'd been through what she has, I should think 
I'd got a good deal. But you can't stir Pa. I never saw 
him so set about anything as he is on hurlin' that child 
to perdition. He's bound to let her go even if it breaks 
the bank to do it." 

Although crudely expressed, the latter statement was 
truer than its framer imagined. All innocent of the 
power she wielded Penelope had used as an argument 
to gain her end the one magic plea her grandfather could 
not resist. He was not a whit interested in her having 
a career or earning money. In fact, penurious as he was, 
he greatly preferred to support her and have her remain 
to gladden the old house that fronted the bay. 

But when she asserted she was not happy ah, that 
was the lever that moved the rock of his resistance! He 
had toiled for years to give to the girl the happiness he 
not only felt to be her due but which he owed as an ac- 
cumulative debt to her mother. Never until that obliga- 



94 GRANITE AND CLAY 

tion was wiped off the slate of his conscience would 
be entirely at rest. But apparently he had failed. Penel- 
ope was not happy. Mere food and shelter was not 
enough. She exacted something more and he was de- 
termined that she should have it. Of the self-denial it 
entailed she should never know. Not only would it 
mean greater financial effort than she had any realiza- 
tion of; but more potent than this sordid consideration 
was the fact of losing her temporarily out of the home. 

He* would not have dreamed he could have become so 
dependent on the presence of any human being as he 
was on this wayward, incomprehensible, tantalizing 
granddaughter of his. She it was who set the color of 
his day, indicating by frown or smile whether there was 
to be cloud or sunshine. What would be his sky when 
she was gone? He trembled to think. But if Penelope 
was not happy that was enough. Every muscle must be 
strained, every agency called into operation to make her 
so. Not only was it his pleasure; it was a sacred 
obligation. 

He could not, he justly admitted, blame the girl for 
being conscious of the village gossip. Though a man of 
peculiarly independent temperament his own pride had 
been stung by the slanders that had reached his ears and 
Penelope was only a woman and proud as he. What 
wonder that with her more sensitive nature she should 
prefer to flee rather than face public criticism as he was 
resolved to do? All women shrunk from being talked 
about. She would go away for a time and amid new 
scenes and other interests forget the censorious tongues 
of Belleport which, deprived of the stimulus of her pres^ 
ence, would gradually wag more slowly and at length be 
stilled. Then, after an interval, she would come home 
and begin life over again and perhaps the future chap- 
ters of her existence would be brighter ones. He prayed 



THE TRIUMPH OF PENELOPE 95 

so. Into terms of such crude but affectionate philosophy 
did Captain Jabez reduce the aspirations of Penelope. 

The tidings of the girl's approaching departure were 
not received by the hamlet, alas, with an equal degree of 
intelligence. 

" What do you think ! ' commented Hepsey Bearse 
excitedly to the postmaster. " Penelope Turner's ac- 
tually a-goin' chasin ; Dick Morton up to Boston ! Imag- 
ine the Aliens lettin' her. What's come over 'em I don't 
understand. It's likely, though, they can't help it. She's 
a! headstrong little minx." 

" Oh, I don't believe she's trapsin' after Dick," re- 
torted the other with masculine skepticism. " The Old 
Cap'n's got too much pride to stand for that. More 
likely she's goin' to the city to get wisened up same's the 
Kendrick girls did." 

* Oh, Penelope don't need to go to college to* get wise," 
Hepsey declared with an insinuating laugh. ' She's 
knowin' enough as 'tis. Besides, it ain't the season of 
the year to be commencm* college." 

Once Penelope would have cringed before such com- 
ment; but now borne upward on rosy clouds of antic- 
ipation she was so far aloft that the shafts of malice di- 
rected toward her failed to reach their goal. 

Serenely she packed her possessions in the old-fash- 
ioned leather trunk banded to absurdity with hoops of 
steel, and laughing in triumph as the lock clicked, she 
helped her grandfather take the added precaution to cord 
it with rope. Then she put on her freshly ironed shirt- 
waist, her worn little coat arid skirt of blue, and settling 
the hat with its tilting cornflowers jauntily on her head, 
tripped downstairs to bid good-by to her aunts. 

You're sure you put everything in your satchel, 
child ? ' questioned Aunt Martha. : Be careful of your 
tickets an' money. Remember you've got quite a little 



96 GRANITE AND CLAY 

fortune with you an* you mustn't go flourishin' your 
purse round on the train 'cause you never can tell who 
may be watchin'. An' don't forget to write every day or 
two an' let us know how you're makin' out. Since you 
like to write so much, letters ought to come easy." 

" Tell us what they're wearin' in Boston," piped the 
more; frivolous Elizabeth. ' I'd like to hear somethin' 
of the styles first-hand." 

Penelope smiled and nodded. 

" Law, Eliza, how can you ask such a thing of the 
child? She won't be goin' to shops an' seein' fashions, 
busy as she'll be with her work. An' anyhow, it's a fool- 
ish waste of paper to be fillin' it up with such nonsense. 
What does it matter what they're wearin'? You can't 
have none of it," concluded the practical Martha. 

" Well, I can read about it, can't I ? ' Elizabeth an- 
swered, trying valiantly not to be ruffled by the rebuke. 

" I s'pose so if you choose to use your eyesight that 
way," came sharply from her sister, " though why, at 
your age, you ain't outgrown such silliness I can't see. 
What good will it do you to hear what folks in Boston 
have on? By the time the letter gets here, they'll be 
togged out in somethin' else. You can't hope to keep up 
with 'em. I'd rather hear about what's goin' on lec- 
tures, an' singin' an' sermons." Then, as if struck by 
a sudden thought, she added, You'll go to church, 
Penelope, same's you do at home." 

" Yes." 

" That's right. We all would want you should." 

Elizabeth, who seemed to feel she had not been granted 
her full share in admonishments, now put in: 

" An' don't go eatin' any new-fangled food made of 
goodness only knows what. Nothin' will make you sick 
quicker'n that." 

The rattle of the stage came nearer and there was a 



THE TRIUMPH OF PENELOPE 97 

cry of warning from Captain Jabez, who, stationed for 
the last half -hour on the steps, was standing guard over 
the shabby trunk. 

" Come on, Penelope*," he called through the window. 
" Seth's here with the wagon. Now, Eliza, don't you an' 
Martha backen her by talkin'. She's got her ticket to 
buy an' her trunk to check an' there ain't any too much 
time. Kiss your aunts, child, an' nip right along." 

The little ceremony of farewell was characteristically 
stiff and brief. With obvious embarrassment Penelope 
brushed the* cheek of each of the women with her lips, 
and as much relieved as they that the rite was over, 
sprang blushingly into the waiting vehicle beside her 
grandfather. 

" You'll remember about writin'," called Martha. 

" Yes." 

" An' lockin' up your money." 

" Yes." 

Elizabeth glanced at her sister and then, edging des- 
perately to the margin of the piazza, she called con- 
fidentially : 

"If you should be where there's any samples, 
Penelope ' 

But Martha had heard. 

" Samples ! " ejaculated she. Why, anybody'd think 
the girl was goin' to Boston on a shoppin' trip." 

" But I only said if she happened to be where there 
xvere any," Elizabeth whimpered. ' Sometimes you can 
get pieces that do nicely for needlebooks an' the like." 

" I'll try to do everything," responded Penelope across 
the widening distance. 

She looked back and waved her hand. 

On the steps stood her two aunts too busily engaged 
in quarreling to notice her. 

" They're havin' one of their spats," grunted her grand- 



98 GRANITE AND CLAY 

father. " Martha's probably sayin' it ain't moral to use 
the samples you pay nothin' for to make needlebooks." 

Which in point of fact was exactly the case and proved 
how well the Old Captain knew his daughters. It was 
also characteristic of him that he raised no objection to 
the gratuitous needlebooks. 



CHAPTER XII 

A RED-LETTER DAY 

BEFORE a great flat-topped desk littered with papers, 
Gordon Hamilton sat tilted back in his revolving chair. 
A haze of cigarette smoke, filmy as mist and fragrant 
as a breath from the Orient, clouded the room which al- 
though businesslike in equipment was not the barren in- 
terior so characteristic of offices. On the contrary a 
richly toned rug covered the floor, and upon the tinted 
walls, banded about in uniform frames of black, hung 
several large water-colors, proof drawings for book- 
cover designs or illustrations. There were, too, auto- 
graphed photographs of several distinguished writers 
bearing the typical friendly greeting; and in low book- 
cases that ran about three sides of the room, gay-hued 
volumes, stamped with the imprint of Beck and Ham- 
ilton, were arranged in symmetrical rows. 

The desk, however, occupied the center of the room 
and the light that poured in upon it through the broad 
window overlooking the city street fell full upon Mr. 
Gordon Hamilton himself, who sat intently reading a 
sheaf of crisp white manuscript. Far into the morning 
he had read and had the truth been known, far into the 
night before a crime which in recent years his eyesight 
had forbidden. The reading of manuscript was fright- 
fully taxing on the eyes. 

Nevertheless on this occasion his gaze dwelt unblink- 
ingly on the pages he held in his hand. With eagle alert- 
ness it traveled along and one sheet after another was 



100 GRANITE AND CLAY 

placed face down on the accumulating pile at his elbow, 
until only a few remained which he devoured avidly as 
if he feared to be interrupted before he should have done 
with them. Only once did he pause, and that was to 
glance irritably at the clock above his desk ; then, satisfied, 
he returned with greed to his papers. At last, with a 
reluctant yawn, he put down the final page, rose, thrust 
his hands into his pockets and laughed a delighted laugh ; 
afterward he took a few turns across the room as if to 
relax muscles*that had for some time been tense. 

" Jove ! " exclaimed he aloud. " Penelope Turner, eh? 
Penelope Turner ! " Musingly he repeated the name, 
speaking each syllable of it slowly. Then he sat down 
again in his mahogany chair and touched a bell. 

" Ask Mr. Rollins to come here a moment," said he to 
Miss Stevens, his secretary. 

Rollins, the head reader, came, a clean-shaven young 
college man, high-browed and wearing shell-rimmed spec- 
tacles. 

" What do you know of a Penelope Turner, Rollins? 
Anything? " 

" Penelope Turner! " repeated the subordinate thought- 
fully. " I do not recall the name at all, Mr. Hamilton." 

" You don't remember ever having had a manuscript 
of hers?" 

" No, sir." 

Hamilton drummed meditatively on his desk with his 
long fingers. 

" U m ! " 

" Something may have been sent in, however, and been 
turned down before it got to me," suggested Rollins, not- 
ing the gathering frown of his employer and speaking 
hastily. 

" That is very unlikely," replied the junior member of 
the firm, with a shake of his head. " No story of Penel- 



A RED-LETTER DAY 101 

ope Turner's would ever have been turned down, once 
it reached these offices, young man." 

"Why not speak to some of the others? They may 
recollect the name. Or it may be on file. We file a rec- 
ord of all submitted manuscripts if they show any prom- 
ise at all. Often it is useful." 

" Hunt through your card catalogue, then, and see 
what information you can get. Also inquire of the staff 
in the editorial office. Penelope Turner is the name 
Miss Penelope Turner of Pinckney Street." 

Nodding, Rollins went out, and, after he had gone, 
Hamilton lighted a fresh cigarette, puffed at it viciously 
and regarded the ceiling through half-closed lids. He 
was extraordinarily puzzled. The manuscript had been 
sent to him marked Personal and he did not in the least 
understand it. Manuscripts never came to him and but 
for the novelty of receiving this one he never would 
have read it so promptly. But the first line had caught 
his attention, the second had held it and by the time he 
had reached the third he was as powerless to lay aside 
the story as a child is to part from Goldenlocks and the 
Three Bears. 

Still pondering, Hamilton began to whistle in subdued, 
semi-conscious fashion. 

Where in thunder was Rollins? It took him an out- 
rageously long time to go through those lists of his. 

" Well ? " demanded he the instant the young man was 
inside the door. 

" I have not been able to trace Miss Turner at all, 
Mr. Hamilton. The name is entirely new to us. None 
of the readers have ever heard it, and it is not in the 
files." 

A light, jubilant laugh came from Hamilton. 

" A new one, eh ? Dropped without warning from the 
clouds." 



102 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" That depends on the manuscript," retorted the reader 
with a touch of humor. 

" Oh, don't you fret ! The story is heaven-sent, all 
right," Gordon Hamilton asserted. ' It is the real thing 
a find a corker! This is a red-letter day for us, 
Rollins. We've struck a best seller and something tells 
me it is her first." 

His eyes shone with excitement. 

" If she is only starting and can do the thing again, 
her fortune is made and ours, too, incidentally. And 
even if she can't repeat the offense it is something to have 
committed the crime once. Given the proper advertis- 
ing the book should bring a landslide. Here, take it with 
you and let me have your opinion. You'll see that it 
needs some editing. There is the novice's waste of 
words here and there, but that is of minor importance. 
The thing is the yarn itself and that is as gripping and 
vivid as you could ask." 

" Then you have already decided to publish it? " smiled 
the reader. 

" Well, rather! It is going to be the star of our 
Christmas firmament. You will say so too, or I'm mis- 
taken. Go ahead and get at it. I want to know how it 
strikes you." 

"Now?" 

" Certainly now." 

" But I am editing that set of Rogers' essays." 

" Damn Rogers ! He can wait. He never sells more 
than a thousand, anyway. Let Miss Danforth finish up 
the book. She can do it all right or find somebody else 
who can. But you take this manuscript and go to it. 
Make corrections as you go along, for since Miss Penel- 
ope Turner has come to stay, it will save time." 

"What's the title of the story?" asked Rollins, as 
Hamilton gathered up and straightened the uneven sheets. 



A RED-LETTER DAY 103 

"Granite and Clay! That's not so bad! However, 
we can decide on the title later. The story is the thing 



now.' 



Rollins took the manuscript, a glow of his employer's 
enthusiasm reflected on his face. Both men were as 
eager as dogs upon the scent. 

" You might tell them when you get back to the edi- 
torial rooms that we've found the treasure we have been 
after the whole year," remarked Hamilton. " It will 
cheer everybody up." 

Left alone, Hamilton reseated himself and presently 
again touched the bell beside his desk. 

" Miss Stevens, I want you to take down a letter and 
get it right off," said he to his secretary. ' But perhaps 
before you do that you might call Information and find 
out whether there is a telephone at 378 Pinckney Street. 
If there is, get the number." 

He turned toward the pile of envelopes that littered 
his desk. 

" There will be other letters to* answer, too," he added. 
" I didn't get at them earlier in the day thanks to Miss 
Penelope Turner. Well, she's worth it, anyhow every 
whit worth it." 

He glanced over letter after letter. 

" I beg your pardon, Mr. Hamilton," Miss Stevens 
said re-entering, " but there is no telephone at 378 Pinck- 
ney Street." 

" Then we shall have to send a letter and invite the 
young lady to come in person and talk with us." 

The secretary sat down and drew her typewriter 
toward her. 

" She may not be young, sir," smiled she. Miss 
Stevens had been so many years in Mr. Hamilton's em- 
ploy that she ventured an occasional jest. 

" Old or young it doesn't matter," was the response. 



104 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" She's the real stuff and I say unto you that there is not 
greater rejoicing among the angels over the sinner that 
repenteth than there is right here in this office over this 
same Miss Penelope Turner." 

The telephone jangled and Hamilton caught up the 
receiver. 

"Mr. Wilmot? Yes, I'll see him. Send him up." 
He set the instrument down hurriedly. * Now rush this 
letter through before he comes, Miss Stevens. Tell Miss 
Turner that if convenient I should like to have her come 
to see me to-morrow at eleven o'clock. Make it cour- 
teous and cordial. I'll leave that to you. And if she 
can't come to-morrow ask her to let me know when she 
will have leisure to call." 

" Yes, sir." 

" That is all for the present. We shall have to leave 
these letters until after luncheon." 

" Very well, Mr. Hamilton." 

As she opened the door to pass out it was held for her 
by an entering visitor. Broad-shouldered and powerful, 
he moved with the military swing and freedom of one 
whose muscles are in perfect training. He had a bronzed 
face, piercing eyes and a small, close-cut mustache that 
added a grim, almost severe touch to his countenance, 
but notwithstanding his austerity, the gesture with which 
he greeted the stenographer and waited for her to pass 
displayed the courtliness and ease that proclaimed not 
only social training but a reverence for all womanhood 
as well. 

: I have no earthly business to be bothering you in 
working hours, old man," began he, when the door was 
closed and the two friends were alone together. ' But 
I happened to be near here and I couldn't resist dropping 
in to see what had become of you." 

" I'm mighty glad you did," answered Hamilton with 



A RED-LETTER DAY 105 

heartiness. "There's no one on earth I'd rather see. Sit 
down. Ho\V do you find the world now that you are 
home from France and back in the traces ? ' 

" SBMfcB stupid, Gordon if you're asking to know," 
Mr. Wilmot replied. Try as I will I simply cannot 
seem to take up life again. Most of the men who went 
across make the same complaint. That three years 
played the devil with existence. You just cannot piece 
the threads together. Margaret's raising the same wail. 
It was her first taste of something outside Vincent Club 
theatricals and Copley Plaza balls and since her return 
she has been restless as a caged lioness. I actually don't 
know what I am going to do with her. She persists in 
declaring that she is going to get a job and I do not 
know but she will yet, in spite of all my protests. There 
really is no reason why she shouldn't, except that I hate 
the idea of it." 

"You dislike breaking a precedent, eh, Billy?' 

Wilmot laughed good-humoredly. 

" I fancy that is about it," laughed he. " We Bos- 
tonians usually do. You see none of the women of our 
family ever did earn their living. Nevertheless, there 
always has to be a first time, I suppose, and since the war 
just about all our established codes have gone by the 
board. In many instances it has been a good thing too. 
Still, say what you may, present-day conditions do jolt 
some of us old conservatives. I feel irritated the whole 
time. It's a foolish state of mind, I know, for the past 
will never return never. We have begun another 
chapter of history and like it or not we must go* on with 
it. Whether it will be better or worse than our former 
ones remains to be seen." 

" Many persons in the world would term this sensa- 
tion you call a jolt progress," laughed Gordon Hamilton. 

" I know that's the name the youngsters give it," came 



106 GRANITE AND CLAY 

dryly from Wilmot. " I had a chance to learn their lingo 
while I was in Europe. You cannot command a regi- 
ment without finding out about your men and what they 
think. I'm not complaining of them, mind, for they were 
as fine a lot df boys as you would ask to see, corking 
chaps, every one of them ! I was mighty proud of them. 
And there was more to it than pride, too, for when you 
go through a hell like that together you establish a pretty 
firm fellowship with your comrades. We had it rough 
and it drew those of us who came out of the scrimmage 
mighty close together. Since I got home my boys have 
kept turning up at the house or the office just to renew 
old times. You can't talk the war with people who 
weren't in it. In the first place it bores them stiff, and 
in the next they don't know anything about it. But let 
some of your own command blow in and you are back in 
France in a second. When I was over there I thought I 
never should wish to mention those terrible and tragic 
days again. But now that they are over I find a morbid 
sort of pleasure in reviewing them. They weren't so bad 
in spite of their hardships." He paused musingly, then 
continued : 

1 Margaret has a string of over-sea friends, too 
men she met at her canteen. I always can tell when she 
has seen one of them for she is in the highest of spirits 
afterward." 

' She always seems in the highest of spirits to me/' 
ventured Hamilton, glancing out of the window with 
studied carelessness. 

f Oh, she's generally pretty even-tempered/ 1 was Wil- 
mot's response. ' But since she got home &he has been 
less so than usual. She may have overworked in France. 
Goodness knows, she kept at it with an energy I wouldn't 
have believed she possessed." 

There was a moment of quiet and above the droning 



t( 

tf 



A RED-LETTER DAY 107 

hum of the city street the clock above Hamilton's desk 
ticked noisily. 

"When does the wedding come off?' Gordon in- 
quired, searching elaborately in his pocket for his ciga- 
rette case. 

Wilmot hesitate*^ 
Oh eb in the fall, I rather think," he answered. 

There are no definite plans as yet, however. I am 
not anxious to hurry matters, you may be sure of that. 
Peggy is the only pal I have and when she goes ' 

" But I thought you said Lambeth was to give up the 
London business and come here that it was one of the 
conditions on which you consented to the match." 

" Oh, there's no hitch about that. Archie has agreed 
to come all right and take out his citizen papers too. 
Peggy isn't goixig to leave the country. On the other 
hand, she isi<ft going to want to live with her old dad 
when once she is married, I know that. She will want 
a home of her own. All girls do." 

" Perhaps not." 

" But she will, I tell you. I know something of 
women," asserted Wilmot, toying moodily with his 
watch fob. " She will want her own things and her in- 
dependence. It is perfectly natural. And if she doesn't, 
Lambeth will. If he gives up everything and comes over 
here to marry her, something vyill bt due him." 

" I suppose so," Hamilton admitted. 

" You must remember that it is a mighty condescen- 
sion for an Englishman born and bred in London to tear 
up and come to America to live, anyway especially one 
who is not young any more." 

" He is Margaret's senior, isn't he ! ' commented 
Hamilton. ' I keep forgetting that. Sometimes I have 
thought it odd that she should care for a man so much 
older than herself." 



108 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" Oh, it came about naturally enough," was the tranquil 
response. " You see, her mother's death threw her with 
me from the time she was a child. We became great 
chums and I'm afraid that quite unconsciously I cut her 
off from making younger friends. Where I went she 
went, and as a result her circle of acquaintances became 
more or less limited to the persons whom I knew. She 
was always a rather shy, grave little thing who did not 
care much for frivolity. I fairly had to push her to 
join in with her own set. She'd rather be with the old 
folks and with me. Consequently it followed that when- 
ever we were in London she saw a great deal of Lambeth 
and also when he came here for he usually stayed at the 
house. He is an attractive chap one whose attentions 
would be flattering to any woman. I suppose they were 
to Margaret. There is no denying the match pleased me 
at the time, for Archie is a clever fellow and knows the 
ins and outs of the company from A to Z. I figure that 
if he came over here I could take him into partnership 
and he could relieve me of some of the office routine." 
Mr. Wilmot tapped the toe of his boot reflectively with 
the stick he carried. 

" But during the last two years, Gordon, I have some- 
times wondered if I did right to bring about the engage- 
ment for I'll admit I did bring it about. At eighteen 
a girl is almost too young to know her own mind and be 
intelligent as to whom she wants to marry. Besides, 
Margaret had seen very few men. These international 
marriages do not always turn out well, either. The very 
fundamentals of the parties are different. Then, too, 
since the war I have found myself becoming keener on 
my own countrymen. I did not half appreciate what a 
fine lot of young thoroughbreds we were raising in 
America until I saw some of them up against it. You 
cannot match them the world over. I have one of them 



A RED-LETTER DAY 109 

with me now down at State Street learning high finance, 
a boy from the Cape, who, although he has not a cent to 
his name, has a brain that is better than money. Unless 
I have lost my youthful skill at picking a winner, he is 
going to land at the top some day." 

" He isn't the fellow who came back on the steamer 
with you ? ' 

" Why, yes ! ' nodded W r ilmot, his face lighting with 
pleasure. " You met him at the dock the day you came 
to welcome us home, didn't you ? ' 

' No, but I knew some man was with you and Margaret. 
He was busy chasing up trunks." 

Wilmot laughed. 

" I'll bet he was, the young beggar ! ' chuckled he. 
" You can count on Dick being Johnnie on the spot every 
time. You know it was he who performed the impossible 
and rescued Margaret from that bombing outrage at 
Neuilly. I told him afterward that I should never 
forget it and I do not mean to. Anything that 
money, opportunity, or influence can accomplish shall be 
his." 

" Of your two creditors I should pronounce him the 
greater." 

" In contrast with the Englishman, you mean ? Well, 
rather! The American has earned his reward while the 
Britisher, in true English fashion, only gets his good 
fortune by right of inheritance." 

" How do you think Peggy feels about Lambeth ? ' 

Hamilton's sharp scrutiny was directed to his friend's 
countenance. 

" Oh, I guess Peggy is contented enough. She does 
not seem possessed of any of my qualms or if she is 
she conceals it nicely. Lambeth saw us off at Southhamp- 
ton when we sailed for home and everything was merry 
as a marriage bell. But he has aged a lot since the war. 



110 GRANITE AND CLAY 

Jove! I was shocked to see the change in him. You 
know he was stationed at some munitions post near the 
front. The experience must have taken hold of him 
frightfully for he looks ten years older than I, instead 
of being ten years my junior." 

Wilmot rose from the leather chair in which he had 
been sitting. 

" I don't know why I bother you with all this guff, 
Gordon," said he apologetically. " It is not my custom 
to unload my personal worries on you in such selfish 
fashion. But you knew Alice, poor girl, and were fond 
of her ; and I know you care a lot for Margaret." 

" God knows I do ! ' Hamilton burst out and then, 
biting his lips, he colored. 

" She's tremendously fond of you, too, Gordon," re- 
plied Mr. Wilmot serenely, noting neither the other's con- 
fusion nor the flush that had mounted to his forehead. 
" Of all my friends she likes you best." 

There was no response. 

And that reminds me," went on the speaker briskly, 
that I am almost forgetting to deliver her message. 
She wanted me to ask you to dine with us to-morrow 
evening." 

Gordon Hamilton's face became radiant, then clouded 
as Wilmot added : 

" She is having my protege from the office, I believe, 
and some men she met over-seas." 

" I am afraid ' began Hamilton. But his friend 
checked him. 

" Oh, come now," interpolated he, ' ' do not disappoint 
the child and her dad, too. You have hardly been to 
see us since we got home, Gordon. I guess ypu can spare 
one evening." 

I've been busy," was the lame explanation. 

Busy? That is all rot! Don't tell me you work 



et 

a 



a 

t 



A RED-LETTER DAY 111 

. 

nights as well as days, for I know better. What on earth 
can keep you so busy at home ? ' 

" I read manuscript until two o'clock last evening," was 
the retort, made with self-conscious dignity. 

" Great Scott ! Isn't such devotion to literature some- 
thing new ? ' 

" Why eh yes. I don't often keep at it so 
steadily nowadays/' answered Hamilton lightly. 

Billy Wilmot, however, took the matter seriously, say- 
ing with genuine concern : 

" You'll have to stop a practice like that, old chap. 
It's too much of a good thing. Nobody can burn the 
candle at both ends. The next thing you know you will 
be breaking down, going blind, and becoming old before 
your time." 

" I'm old already, Billy/' Hamilton asserted sadly. 

"Nonsense! Nonsense! You? Why, you are in 
the very prime of life. What are you talking about? I 
am sure I do not consider myself old and I have a three 
years' start of you." 

" Years do not constitute age." 
You're right there," agreed Wilmot promptly. 

Nevertheless, they have a darn lot to do with it. In my 
opinion, however, the printer's strike has more to do with 
your sudden antiquity than anything else/' 

Hamilton smiled at the shrewdness of the observation. 

" Perhaps it has," admitted he. 

" Are you still holding out for the open shop ? ' 

"You bet your life!" 

" That's right ! Stick to it. It is sure to come. So 
far as I'm concerned, I would rather go without almost 
anything than yield to those fellows. It is not that I 
want to beat them. It is their un- Americanism that gets 
me. They are trying to shackle everybody's freedom 
and do away with the liberty of the individual, and hav- 



" 
" 



112 GRANITE AND CLAY 

ing a Plymouth Rock ancestry, I've no use for such a 
creed." 



' I'm not strong for it either." 



Well, I admire your nerve in fighting for a principle. 
If every employer would be equally disinterested and 
self-sacrificing there would soon be an end to this 
tyranny. Now about Peggy's dinner you will come, 
won't you ? ' 

" Yes, thank you." 

" Bravo ! That's the stuff, old man ! " 

" At what time do you dine ? ' 

" Seven-thirty." 

" I'll be on hand, Billy." 

" That's fine ! And you will let up on reading manu- 
script all night, won't you ? ' pleaded Wilmot with affec- 
tionate solicitude. 

Yes, I give you my word that for the present I won't 
take home another thing," was Hamilton's reply. A 
whimsical smile lingered on his lips. He could afford to 
make the glib promise. Penelope Turner would not be 
submitting another story immediately. 



CHAPTER XIII 

TANGLED WEBS 

THE Wilmot house, a residence of mellowed red brick 
with trimmings of green and an entrance whose prim 
paneling and fan-shaped glass was reminiscent of colonial 
Boston, stood near the head of Chestnut Street. 
Through a vista of similar doorways one glimpsed at the 
foot of the hill the dancing blue of the river and at sun- 
set, against a glory of crimson, the bridge that spanned it. 
But the bridge with its rush of traffic was so distant as 
to be only viewed in miniature; and the nearby houses, 
like protecting bulwarks, walled out the din of the city's 
turmoil until nothing but its rumbling echoes stole in to 
drone a faint accompaniment to the stillness brooding 
over the place. Nevertheless, despite its seclusion, Chest- 
nut Street was not actually cut off from the whirl of 
present-day life for before many an old-time residence 
motor cars panted, and fashionably dressed men and 
women peopled the sidewalks. 

Indeed there was an odd incongruity between the man- 
sions and those who dwelt within them. An onlooker 
might well have declared hoops and stiff brocades, cocked 
hats and powdered coiffures fitter company for such a 
setting. And if the exteriors of the houses were thus at 
odds with their owners how much more justly did the 
interiors, with their inviting Chippendale sofas, gate- 
legged tables, canopied beds and cupboards crowded with 
pink luster, merit the criticism. Possibly beneath this 



114 GRANITE AND CLAY 

atmosphere of perpetuated antiquity there may, to be 
honest, have lurked a certain degree of the artificial, but 
if so the artistry creating it was cunningly, even rever- 
ently employed. 

It was in such a home as this that Margaret Wilmot 
lived. She had always lived there and her father and 
mother, her grandfather and grandmother before her. 
There had never been a time since the house was built 
that some descendant of Peter Wilmot had not trodden 
the broad, white-banistered stairway; lingered beneath 
the great branching chandelier of crystal; or sat at the 
head of the dim mahogany dining-table. It was not 
alone for its history, however, that Margaret loved the 
stately old house. Ever since she could remember she 
had presided over it, taking care that the brasses, worn 
to satin smoothness by cycles of polishing, were always 
bright; that the dark wood of the furniture showed no 
dust; that flowers filled the vases; and that the freshness 
and daintiness which had been her mother's delight 
reigned throughout the home. 

For the training to assume these unlooked-for duties 
the girl had her parents' conservatism to thank. Hers 
had been the austere education of the New England 
housewife, and in consequence from the time she was a 
child she was able to bake and brew, stitch and seam, 
sweep and dust. The fact that there were in the house- 
hold several family servants who had been handed down 
from one generation to another had not been permitted 
to act as a hindrance to the program the mother had so 
conscientiously outlined. 

Hence it followed that when affliction came with 
ghostly footfall to the old Beacon Hill dwelling and the 
daughter was left to preside over her father's table, she 
slipped into the niche with an ease and dignity far in 
advance of her years. To her father her poise and quiet 



TANGLED WEBS 115 

capability came as a shock, bringing with it the initial 
realization that the child he had petted, played with, and 
indulged was in reality a woman. The two had always 
been congenial companions but now, under the poignancy 
of a great sorrow, they turned to each other in far closer 
and more intimate comradeship than ever before. In 
fact, there was pathos in the helplessness with which the 
man, formerly so strong and self-sufficient, clung to his 
child. She became his solace from loneliness; the pri- 
mary interest of his life. The State Street office, which 
during his wife's life had to a great extent absorbed him, ( 
now became important only as it ministered to Mar- 
garet's needs and assured her of financial tranquillity for' 
the future. Had it not been for the war's masterly 
sweeping aside of personal interests Wilmot might have 
remained the recluse he was fast becoming. But his 
country called, and like the others of his race and gener- 
ation he answered that cry with all he had, his fortune, 
his career, even his child. He was not so old but that 
a former military training won him a place with the 
armies in France, and leaving his business in the care of 
subordinates, he sailed with his daughter from America. 

The girl was both mature and executive and as she also 
spoke French readily she had no difficulty in finding a 
position with the Red Cross in Paris. It seemed a post 
sheltered enough, yet one of undeniable usefulness; and 
her father had left her there with a sigh of thankfulness 
that although he was lending his dearest possession to 
the cause of liberty, he was not being called upon to sacri- 
fice it. As for his own part in the coming struggle he 
did not anticipate encountering actual danger. The 
front-line trenches were miles away and while he did not 
shrink from peril there seemed slight prospect that his 
regiment would be sent forward. 

When, however, Destiny's veil was lifted she showed a 



116 GRANITE AND CLAY 

very different face from the one William Wilmot had 
pictured. She seemed like a goddess who, angered by 
half-hearted devotion, now grimly demanded that he who 
knelt before her shrine offer up all that he had withheld. 
Wilmot' s own life was nothing. That he was ordered 
into action and faced the inevitable knowledge that there 
was but scant chance of his return troubled him not a 
whit. It was- only on his child's- account that he dreaded 
the possible issue. 

But when he learned that Margaret, who like himself 
had dedicated her life to the nation, must leave her posi- 
tion of safety and confront inescapable danger, his an- 
guish of soul was scarcely to be endured. 

Why had he brought her across the sea, he asked him- 
self for the hundredth time. It had not been compul- 
sory that she should come. In fact, both of them might 
perfectly well have remained on American soil. And 
then, even as he made the declaration, he knew that 
neither of them could have remained and been content. 

" I am only a woman, Dad ; but like you I am an 
American and I must go ! ' 

Ah, her cry had been the cry of the Wilmot blood! 
A son of his, had heaven blessed him with one, would 
have answered thus-, and in lieu of the son the daughter 
had spoken. Margaret Wilmot would have rated herself 
a craven to have tarried at home in safety while the land 
that had given her birth Cried for aid. And so he had 
kissed her and hand in hand they had set forth for 
France. If neither of them ever returned, so be it. Or 
God was good if He but let her remain. But should it 
fall to Wilmot's lot to come back alone ah, that was a 
thing unthinkable! He prayed on his knees, he be- 
seeched, that he might be spared such a blow. And he 
had been spared. Heaven had been merciful and al- 
though calamity had threatened and even come so close 



TANGLED WEBS 117 

that its breath had. scorched, its touch had been averted by 
the heroism of Richard Morton. 

Could the father even cease to bless that name ? Was 
existence long enough, or the gifts he had to bestow great 
enough ever to cancel the debt such a service entailed? 
Then and there Wilmot had registered a vow that so long 
as life remained to him the deed this man had wrought 
should be remembered with gratitude. 

And he had been true to his word. The war had ended 
and on the same boat with the reunited father and 
daughter Dick Morton had sailed for America; and if 
those long days of companionship at sea worked ill rather 
than good, who was to blame? Surely not the Colonel 
who foresaw no possible harm in this intimacy with the 
young captain who served under him. Surely not Mar- 
garet herself, pledged to a distant lover. Surely not 
Richard Morton, devoted to his superior, all homage and 
respect to the daughter, and hastening home to the 
woman who awaited his coming. None of the three 
could beheld responsible* for the pranks Fate played. 

Chance, however, with malicious eye, saw them his 
dupes and laughed; and when the ship that bore them 
hither reached her destination, the trio parted thought- 
fully, each meditating in secret on what was and what 
might have been. They were innocent enough imagin- 
ings, only backward glances tinged with, shadowy regret, 
a regret too vague to be formulated, and that merely 
lurked like a specter in the subconscious. Each was 
happy in his hopes for the future and loyal to them ; and 
each struggled to stifle as unworthy any suggestion of 
dissatisfaction or unrest at the burden his fetters imposed. 

Colonel Wilmot had never before experienced the 
slightest disquietude concerning Margaret's approaching 
marriage to Archibald Lambeth. Not only had the two 
men been business associates over a span of years but 



118 GRANITE AND CLAY 

they were warm friends as well. Barring the difference 
in years, there was not an objection to be raised against 
the match; and in the face of the girl's maturity that 
flaw seemed only a slight one. 

Then the war, that melting-pot of race and creed and 
sect ; that leveler of wealth and rank ; that mighty creator 
of fellowship had come, and with its camaraderie and 
freer mingling of the sexes a new Margaret Wilmot had 
emerged. Uneasily the father studied his child. How 
would she wear the old bonds now? And was she pre- 
pared to make good the promises she had uttered before 
her reincarnation? To the anxious parent the future 
presented a far less serene aspect than it had done before 
this drastic upheaval. 

If, however, Margaret shared her father's misgivings 
she at least betrayed no sign. Perhaps she herself was 
unable to analyze the magic wrought by the hitherto un- 
known contact of youth with youth. All she sensed was 
that she was exhilarated by an overwhelming gladness; 
that she* exulted in a fresh beauty of the universe ; and 
looked with awakened vision on life and its potential- 
ities. The portals that had formerly shut her within 
herself were r"ent asunder and with a resurrection of 
body, mind, and soul she had stepped forth with the wide- 
eyed wonder of the newly born. 

She now saw youth with the eagerness of youth; she 
delighted in her womanhood with its wealth of beauty 
and charm; she thrilled under strange pulsations of sex. 
She had gone to France a child and blind; she had re- 
turned a woman, seeing. 

And hand in hand with this realization of her powers 
had come the desire to use them. She hungered to mingle 
in the onrushing current of affairs as she had during 
the war. Ah, that sensation of being busy, and useful, 
and wholesomely tired how satisfying it was ! And 



TANGLED WEBS 119 

the joy of looking into other eyes, young like her own, 
and seeing reflected in them the same haunting but elu- 
sive hopes and dreams she experienced ! The wonder of 
it banished every other thought. As for Richard Mor- 
ton, she did not consciously connect him with the miracle 
that had taken J>lace within her. He was only a factor 
in the engulfing and transforming tide. Thus in all sin- 
cerity reasoned Margaret Wilmot. 

And Richard himself argued in something the same 
fashion. The war had been a mighty adventure whose 
mark would ever rest upon him. Those who had not 
shared in it were like men treading the earth with band- 
aged eyes and ears that were stopped. They would never 
know nor could words paint for them the horrors, griefs, 
beauties, glories, that he and his comrades had beheld. 
It was as if one had stood upon a mountain peak and 
looked down on the world with its brutality, its cruelty, 
its selfishness, its patience, its heroism and its God-given 
love. What marvel that a gulf yawned twixt those who 
had glimpsed this wonder and those who had not? It 
was only natural that he should gravitate toward those 
who had been granted the great revelation. The Wil- 
mots were of his kin. That was why he delighted in 
them. No disloyalty to Penelope mixed with his af- 
fection for these new friends. Was he not returning 
to her? And was she not the woman of his choice? 

He could not, to be sure, regard her quite as he did 
those who had been through the tragedy in which he had 
played a part. She, together with every one else in the 
tiny hamlet where he had been born seemed like children 
to whom the realities o life were a closed book. Of 
course they were not to blame for this; nevertheless it 
was unavoidable that he should regard them with pity 
and a degree of patronage. Belleport seemed a realm 
asleep when contrasted with the vividness and turmoil of 



120 GRANITE AND CLAY 

the land he had left behind. How trivial its little self- 
centered round of interest ! How cramped its outlook ! 

With the cries of a destitute and suffering universe 
still ringing in his ears; with the specters of nakedness 
and famine before his eyes until he could scarcely sleep 
at night he had returned to Penelope, and in her mis- 
taken grief how petty her attitude had appeared ! Why, 
she might have been accomplishing endless good during 
those idle hours of mourning! The world need was 
great and time all too short to repair the ravages the con- 
flict had wrought. With every back bent to the burden 
there were none too many to help. And Penelope had 
wasted precious hours, days, months! Before he real- 
ized it his wrath and scorn had burst bounds and he had 
voiced a denunciation that he could not with honesty dis- 
claim. 

Afterward in soberer mind he had cursed himself 
roundly for the words he had spoken. How was a girl 
to know of the hell to which she might have extended a 
succoring hand ? It was unjust to expect it. All Amer- 
ica was as ignorant as she. It ate, drank, piped and 
danced with as much abandon as if there were no such 
things as children without food ; families without homes ; 
women bereft of husbands and. sons. If those of broad 
intelligence, if even government officials lacked a realiza- 
tion of what humanity had undergone, what right had 
he to accuse a girl of Penelope's limited vision of igno- 
rance? He had been grossly unfair. 

Nevertheless there were women who, like pure-eyed 
angels, had looked on- the world as it was and had seen 
the good and evil without having their shining robes sul- 
lied. Margaret Wilmot was one of those. She under- 
stood. He wished Penelope had been willing to listen 
instead of being angered at* his censure. But she had 
proudly dismissed him without lending ear to his apol- 



TANGLED WEBS 121 

ogies or arguments, and while her treatment of him still 
rankled, and the sting of mortification still throbbed, in 
his heart of hearts Richard Morton knew not whether 
to be glad or sorry for the freedom she had given him. 



CHAPTER XIV 

PEGGY 

ON the evening of her dinner party Margaret Wilmot 
stood alone in the living room of the old Chestnut Street 
house, arranging in a great luster pitcher an armful of 
Ophelia roses. Already the interior, glowing softly in 
the light from the shaded' candles and a rosy reflection 
from the hearth, was fragrant with their perfume. 

The girl was in white with arms and neck bare, and 
about her firm throat a curious necklace of topaz, whose 
facets caught and held the firelight, flashed and sparkled. 
She was not pretty and yet she made a beautiful picture 
standing against the golden brown of the hangings. For 
the moment she was smiling with a faint, upward curve 
of lips that smiled rarely and therefore with the more 
fascination. Brow and eyes were grave, however, and 
even the hair, primly parted and coiled in a heavy knot 
at the back of her head, lent a Spartan simplicity that 
appealed because of its very demureness. 

If contrasted with a woman of fashion, the severity 
of her ensemble, paradoxical as it may seem, instead of 
rendering her inconspicuous would have made her no- 
ticeable, almost striking ; and yet had an artist been asked 
to choose between the two types there is little question 
which he would have favored, especially in the present 
setting. 

For the room quiet, dim and austere called for 
that which was plain and elegant rather than that which 



PEGGY 123 

was ornate. The old desk lightened by mellowed brasses, 
the chairs with erect banister backs, the tall clock whose 
dial was ivory-tinted with the years all carried with them 
an atmosphere of age and self-respect; so, too, did the 
tiers of leather-backed books that lined the walls and 
mounted row upon row to the low ceiling. Possibly the 
interior might have been too severe had it not borrowed a 
touch of warmth from the Bokhara rugs, a few scattered 
bronzes, a photograph or two framed in silver, a delight- 
fully feminine silk work-bag that dangled from the back 
of one of the chairs, and the azaleas pink with bloom 
that filled the many-paned windows. 

Palms breathing of the tropics and yet as prim as the 
little drop-leaved table that held the card tray stood in 
the hall ; and between the portieres one caught a glimpse 
of carved Jacobean* chairs, a chest of bronzed cedar 
heavily banded with metal ; and the broad spiral stairway 
that circled upward and disappeared in a series of airy 
curves to the floor above. Here in the hall also hung the 
coat-of-arms of the Wilmots and the sampler of poor lit- 
tle Jane Morse, Margaret's great-grandmother, who al- 
though a blameless child of six had affixed to her al- 
phabet a supplication to the Lord to save her erring soul. 

The dining room seen through the distant alcove was 
gay with flowers, silver and snowy napery, and moving 
noiselessly about, putting the final touches to the table, 
was an aged butler who seemed part and parcel of the 
establishment and who handled each bit of china with 
the affection of a connoisseur. Many a year had Crap- 
son cared for that old Sevres and in spite of the myriad 
times it had graced the board it was his boast that not 
a piece of it had ever been chipped, much less broken. 
Had it been human and of his blood he could not have 
cherished it more tenderly. His motions were slower 
now than in the past, for age had stiffened his once lithe 



124 GRANITE AND CLAY 

figure; nevertheless, there was still in his pose the pre- 
cision of the servant trained to his calling and proud to 
excel in it. It was not toward him, therefore, that Mar- 
garet cast fluttering glances of apprehension when she 
entered, but rather toward the pert little waitress who in 
stiffly starched apron and cap followed him about and 
listened with uptilted chin and obvious boredom to his 
admonitions concerning the plates and silver. The maid 
was of a generation to whom old Sevres and Paul Revere 
silver meant nothing ; neither did the military straightness 
of knives and spoons, nor the accurate placing of wine 
glasses. Instead her mind was occupied with Jim, the 
good-looking teamster, and what she should wear to the 
Clan-na-Gael ball, and if in the meantime a bit of the egg- 
shell porcelain had slipped through her ringers, her heart 
would have throbbed no quicker or her sleep been a whit 
the lighter. But with Margaret and Crapson it was dif- 
ferent. They had grown up on Beacon Hill. 

Therefore, although the mistress of the mansion smiled 
with condescension toward the youthful interloper in her 
trim attire, every hint of patronage vanished when she 
turned toward Crapson. 

" How pretty the table looks! " exclaimed she. " You 
have the place cards right ? ' 

" Yes, Miss Peggy/' 

(Few persons were privileged to call Margaret by her 
childhood name.) 

" Mr. Hamilton at your right, Mr. Morton at your 
left, Miss Sears and Miss Endicott beside your father 
and the other guests as you had them on the list." 

The girl beamed with affection into the old man's face. 

" Of course it is right. I need not have troubled to 
ask, for I never knew you to blunder, Crapson." 

At the words a flush of pleasure stole into the man's 
cheek and the upstart in gray alpaca, apparently taking 



PEGGY 125 

unto herself something the words implied, sniffed and, 
with a toss of her head, disappeared through the swing- 
ing doors. 

Margaret laughed, then at a rattle of the front door 
she hurriedly sped through the hall. 

1 Oh, Dad, how nice of you to come home early! " she 
exclaimed, as her father entered. 

Stooping, Mr. Wilmot took her face between his hands, 
kissed her twice on the lips and then held her off at arm's 
length. 

" My, my ! How fine we look ! ' ' he cried. 

" You like it ? " 

She glanced shyly down at her frock. 

" I should say I did! A Paris trophy? " 

The girl nodded. 

" A rather expensive trophy, too, I'm afraid, Dad/' 

" One of those perfectly plain little sockdolagers, eh ? ' 
laughed her father. " Well, I guess the exchequer can 
stand it. Did the flowers come and were they what you 
wanted, kitten ? ' 

" Yes, dear ; they were lovely. But you needn't have 
sent so many roses." 

" Oh, I threw in those Ophelias. They had just come 
in and were so fresh and perfect that I could not resist 
adding them to the order. I knew you liked them." 

" I love them," was the quiet answer. 

" They always make me think of you, Peggy. I don't 
know why," said the man, drawing her toward him and 
touching her hair. 

For a moment she let her cheek rest against his; then 
raising her head she said : 

I'm so glad Gordon is coming to-night. We haven't 



' i m so giau vjuru 

mm lor an age." 
st 



Yes," was the dubious reply. ( I don't think he was 
keen on it, though. He is getting to be a genuine re- 



126 GRANITE AND CLAY 

cluse, keeps his nose down to the grindstone most of the 
time. I'm afraid. It is getting to be so impossible to 
drag him out for an evening that you may well consider 
yourself honored by his presence, my dear. I cannot un- 
derstand what has come over him of late for he used 
to be a great gadabout. Since his mother's death, how- 
ever, he seems to have dropped out of almost everything." 
Wilmot sighed thoughtfully. " Poor chap ! He must be 
lonely as the deuce rattling round in that great Beacon 
Street house. I wonder that he keeps it." 

Margaret did not reply. 

" Sometimes I think all he does it for is to provide a 
home for Catherine, Roberts and the rest of his mother's 
old servants. They have all been in the family about 
a hundred years and what they would do if tipped out 
into the world I cannot imagine. Why, Catherine must 
have lived with the Hamiltons* upwards of forty years 
and by this time ceased to remember she ever had any 
other home. Gordon's sense of obligation is something 
tremendous and he has too much sentiment to forget 
what she and the others did for his mother. So far as 
that goes, I cannot picture myself turning Crapson out of 
doors, either." 

Margaret's lips parted into a smile of amusement as 
if there were something incongruous in the bare idea. 

" I doubt if Crapson would go, Dad, even if you did 
turn him out," asserted she. " You would just find him 
sitting on the steps." 

" I believe you're right, Peggy. Well, thank the Lord, 
there is no danger of his going. I would no more part 
with Crapson than I would cut off my right hand and 
probably Gordon feels the same about Catherine, Roberts 
and the rest. They wait on him by inches and while 
their devotion is a fine thing they are fast transforming 
him into a dried-up, fussy old bachelor. Of course, he 



PEGGY 127 



is ideally comfortable; but he is too comfortable, 
him! He ought to have a wife and six children instead 
of living in a house where everybody has nervous pros- 
tration if the paper-cutter is a sixteenth of an inch out 
of place." 

Margaret moved thoughtfully to the fire and stood 
looking down into its glowing embers. 

' Perhaps he does not wish to marry," ventured she 
with elaborate carelessness. 

" Oh, I don't think he has ever considered marriage 
seriously," was her father's reply. " He has done a good 
deal of flitting about an$ it tends to unsettle a man and 
make him critical. He gets so he either does not know 
what he wants or is afraid of the whole thing. Gordon 
ought to have married years ago, before he was in dan- 
ger of being spoiled, and I presume he would have if he 
had not been so wrapped up in his mother. I've always 
imagined that, lovely as she was, Mrs. Hamilton demand- 
ed a good deal of him during the last years of her life 
and that he was so devoted he gave all she asked and 
more. Invalids get selfish and self -centered, you know, 
without realizing it. She took so much of his attention 
that it has left an enormous gap in his life. What won- 
der he has turned to business as a solace ? ' 

Wilmot eyed the blaze moodily. 

' Not but what business is all well enough in its way. 
It is a great game, especially in these days of competi- 
tion. Nevertheless, it is a mighty poor substitute for 
human companionship. It isn't worth the candle unless 
you are doing it for somebody else. In Gordon's case 
there is of course a big incentive to make a success of 
his job, for not only is most of the Hamilton money tied 
up with the concern, but when Beck dies he will probably 
succeed to the full management of affairs. So it is nat- 
ural he should be interested in making a record for him- 



128 GRANITE AND CLAY 

self. Besides, it is not as easy now to roll up a big in- 
come to swing a business as it used to be." 

" Yet, business or no business, you buy dozens of 
Ophelia and Butterfly roses," put in Margaret mis- 
chievously. 

Well, if a man has a daughter at home who likes 
roses, what can he do ? ' 

A ripple of laughter followed him as he started up the 
stairs. 

" Don't be late, will you, Dad ? " she called. " You 
know it is your besetting sin to be behindhand. I ought 
to have made you go and dress long ago." 

' Don't fret, kitten, I'll be on time. Crapson will see 
to that," came reassuringly from the hall above. 

Left alone, the girl continued to stand on the hearth 
looking absently at the flickering logs whose dancing light 
like an afterglow at dusk sent a shimmer of rose across 
the folds of her snowy gown. She was thinking of 
Gordon Hamilton. 

Ever since she could remember this man had been a 
part of her existence, coming and going in her home with 
the freedom and intimacy of actual kinship. He had 
been her mother's friend ; her father's roommate at Har- 
vard ; and one of the godfathers who had assisted at her 
own christening. It was to him the Wilmots had turned 
during the tragedy of her mother's illness and death ; and 
afterward it was he who suggested that the three of them 
go abroad, and who* had shouldered the care of arranging 
the trip and attending to its details. At the time she 
had not appreciated his devotion in thrusting aside his 
own concerns so completely and putting his friends' in- 
terests before them. But she had appreciated it since 
then deeply and fully. 

What a delightful traveling companion he had been! 
How unselfish, how amusing, how patient! And when 



PEGGY 129 

the change of environment began to strengthen and cheer 
her father, with what exultant eyes did Gordon regard 
him ! 

Since that day Hamilton had ever been to her, hero, 
brother, friend and comrade, one of the most precious 
things in her life. With never-ending versatility he had 
kept pace with her evolution from childhood to woman- 
hood and had followed the juvenile diversions of school 
vacations with the maturer pleasures of dances, dinners 
and operas. He knew well how to make a fine art of 
recreation, for during his earlier manhood Gordon Ham- 
ilton had been a great beau, the leader of innumerable 
cotillions and a much-sought-after dinner guest. Eager 
mothers had besieged him with invitations to house 
parties, week-end fetes and theatricals, and although 
Hamilton had fluttered here and there and made himself 
both indispensable and delightful, he had returned from 
the social fray wholehearted and unattached. 

With the death of his frail and beautiful mother the 
overwhelming grief of his life had come and the world 
had suddenly turned to tinsel and its gayety to mockery. 
What more natural than that under the saddening in- 
fluence of sorrow he and the Wilrnots should instinctively 
have drawn closer together and he should have been at 
their house more than ever before? And it was since 
this time that Margaret had noticed a change in his at- 
titude toward her. He was not less friendly but he was 
more shy and reserved. 

At first she feared she had hurt him by some inad- 
vertent word or act and with contrition had slipped a 
hand into his and asked an explanation. To her sur- 
prise, however, the affectionate advance had been in- 
stantly rebuffed. Hamilton had turned sharply away as 
if annoyed by her solicitude and from that day her girl- 
ish caresses had been curbed and supplanted by a more 



130 GRANITE AND CLAY 

mature and less demonstrative bearing. Nevertheless, 
despite his unfailing cordiality and kindness, the wall of 
reserve remained until at length, in despair of ever over- 
throwing it, she had come to accept it. There seemed 
less difference in their ages now. Frequently when her 
father was engaged, Hamilton would take her to the 
Symphony or to a picture show; and sometimes they 
would drop into a tea-room afterward or enjoy a Bo- 
hemian dinner together. These occasions were fetes to 
be marked with a white stone, for Hamilton could be 
a fascinating companion when he chose and at such 
times he flung aside his reserve and as in the days 
when they were together on the continent he exerted his 
wit, charm and tenderness until he made himself irresist- 
ible. 

Ah, those happy, happy times would never, alas, come 
again ! 

After a little interval her engagement to Archie Lam- 
beth had been announced ; the war had followed and then 
the Wilmots had gone to France, during which time 
Hamilton had remained at home, sold Liberty Bonds, 
served on various government commissions and labored 
at Red Cross drives. Perhaps no American had toiled 
more modestly, patriotically, or tirelessly and received 
less recognition for the unstinted pouring out of his 
strength and fortune. Hamilton wanted no thanks and 
he received none. Scarcely any one knew from whom 
the- anonymous gifts to the many philanthropic causes 
arising out of the world reconstruction came. He pre- 
ferred that this should be so. With victory and a re- 
turn to normal conditions the many war activities with 
which he had been connected ceased and as silently as 
he had come he withdrew from posts that needed his 
services no longer and turned his energy to the building 
up of his business. 



PEGGY 131 

It was full time he did so, for myriad annoyances were 
making wretched the lives of every publisher. Paper 
was high and scarce; printers and binders, like other 
workmen, demoralized by frequent strikes; competition 
was acute; geniuses few. The making and selling of 
books was not what it had been in the past. It was not 
that Hamilton experienced anxiety lest he himself come 
to want, for his income was ample and as well invested 
as an income could be in times that shifted rapidly as a 
kaleidoscope. He did not care a curse for the money as 
such. What did rouse him to combat was the danger 
that he might be beaten at the game he was playing. He 
was a proud man and a fighter; and one unaccustomed 
to defeat. To be thwarted by conditions created by a 
lack of intelligence in others galled him. Moreover, his 
faith in the nobility of his career was so supreme that 
he could not feel it merited failure. A good book was 
the finest type of merchandise existent, and by placing 
it in the hands of the public was he not performing an 
act which not alone increased his financial prosperity but 
uplifted a people? He believed this with all his soul and 
his heart was in the gospel he disseminated. Other 
houses might, for gain, stoop to circulating the ques- 
tionable and the lurid but he would not soil his hands 
nor sully the reputation of the time-honored firm of which 
he was a member by so doing. 

Both Gordon Hamilton and Lyman Beck might with- 
out doubt have been richer had they been less idealistic 
and pursued a different policy; but at least each of them 
could meet the eyes of his fellows without blushing and 
they were of a type to find in this fact ample compensa- 
tion for whatever loss they might sustain in consequence 
of their common credo. 

It was fortunate that the two were in such complete 
accord, for each possessed a very definite and clear-cut 



132 GRANITE AND CLAY 

personality to which any compromise of principle would 
have been well-nigh impossible. Although much older 
than* Hamilton, Beck was shrewd enough to recognize 
that when it came to books Hamilton was mentally the 
cleverer man. He seemed to have been born with a sixth 
sense for literary values and to have an almost occult 
power for scenting quality in any manuscript presented. 
In consequence, he was able to speak with an authority 
that commanded instant attention and if he had coaxed 
many a seedling's talent into bloom he was on the other 
hand a pitiless judge who showed no quarter to the 
dilettante. 

Had they been willing to confess to the truth, there 
were scores of literary neophytes in the country who had 
had wisdom enough to listen to Hamilton and bless him 
for discouraging at its birth a product that would only 
have resulted in hours of profitless toil. For this kindly 
and well-intentioned but thankless service both the world 
and many an aspirant to fame stood his debtor. More 
often, however, insulted young authors had gone wrath- 
fully from his doors only to expend time, ink and paper 
on what usually proved an ultimate failure. Hamilton 
cherished no resentment when they poured out their 
wrath upon him but with a tolerant sigh and a shrug of 
his shoulders watched their departure with pity, deploring 
their blindness. 

And when out of the scum and silt of poor workman- 
ship and inexperience gold flashed with its myriad po- 
tentialities for beauty, no one was more appreciative of 
its native worth than he. He could, be gentle, sympa- 
thetic, patient beyond belief with the possessor of a gen- 
uine idea and aid in its fostering with an expert hand. 
Once in an aeon, like a meteorite dropping from the 
clouds, a real planet came into his ken, brightening his 
horizon as nothing else could. Then indeed was he like 



PEGGY 133 

a watcher of the skies who rejoiced in a new star with 
a discoverer's enthusiasm. 

Many of these characteristics of his nature Margaret 
Wilmot knew and many more she guessed. Neverthe- 
less, there were inner chambers that were barred to her 
and which no key had ever yet unlocked either to man 
or woman. There was steadfastness there, passion, a 
chivalry that bordered on the fanatical ; a grave, inartic- 
ulate religious belief that had come down a heritage from 
a vanished generation ; and dreams that were all his own. 
None of these treasures did he scatter before the herd. 
Looking at the man society saw only the shallows of his 
personality with, their scintillations of wit and charm; 
but there were swifter, deeper currents in Hamilton that 
moved not on the surface and stirred only to mighty emo- 
tions. Perhaps not even he hiniself guessed their exist- 
ence, or the distances to which they were capable of carry- 
ing him if once they should be unleashed. Hitherto they 
had been docile enough, slaves of an invincible will. The 
man who greeted him at the club, the woman who beck- 
oned him to her tea-table suspected them not ; nor in truth 
did Margaret Wilmot, who thought she had fathomed 
almost every recess of his heart. 

But Roberts and faithful old Catherine knew their 
master better and sensed that wealth and success with all 
their glamor are poor substitutes for human affection, 
and that in spite of all his popularity and his many 
friends, Gordon Hamilton was a lonely, groping, unsat- 
isfied man. 



CHAPTER XV 

A DISCOVERY 

ON the day that he was to dine with the Wilmots Gor- 
don Hamilton sat alone in his office, drumming impa- 
tiently with his finger tips on the edge of his desk. He 
had looked over his mail and answered such letters as 
demanded immediate attention; had discussed with the 
editorial department and turned down a manuscript sub- 
mitted by Rachel Dawn which although fairly good was 
not, in his opinion, good enough ; had consulted with Mr. 
Beck as to granting a raise of wages at the bindery ; had 
examined the reports sent in by the salesmen on the road ; 
and now at eleven o'clock he was awaiting with no small 
degree of curiosity and anticipation the coming of Miss 
Penelope Turner. 

Already the hour hand was traveling past the time 
specified, and still the lady had not made her appearance. 
He detested persons who were late, especially suppliant 
authors. Under ordinary conditions he would have put 
on his hat and gone out simply for the sake of delivering 
a rebuke to the delinquent. But Miss Penelope Turner 
must be indulged. Genius was erratic and, he confessed, 
had a certain right to be independent of the codes that 
governed the rabble. It would be audacious to hold the 
heaven-born to earthly laws. Nevertheless he did hope 
that the dreamy and mystic-minded lady for doubtless 
she was dreamy and mystical had not forgotten the 
appointment. 



A DISCOVERY 135 

It was a bit unusual for an author not to heed the 
gracious beckonings of a publisher. Ordinarily writers 
were only too keen for such interviews. Perhaps, he re- 
flected with annoyance, the note Miss Stevens had sent 
had carried so blatant an echo of eagerness that Penel- 
ope Turner, appraising herself at her full value, and 
realizing she would have no difficulty in disposing of her 
wares elsewhere, felt she could afford to be supercilious. 
If only he had at his command some information to guide 
him in his dealings with her ! But of both her personal- 
ity and her past he was ignorant. Not in a long time 
had any human being piqued his curiosity and interest 
to such a degree. Of course, there was the possibility 
that the soul in the book she had written was her soul, 
and if it was then he knew her eye to eye and heart to 
heart knew far more of her real self than if he had 
possessed reams of superficial data concerning her. But 
on the other hand far from being the prototype of her 
heroine and the embodiment of her own philosophy, this 
will-o'-the-wisp author might be quite a different person. 
He had learned during years of grim experience that it 
was easy to create dream characters from paper and ink 
and he no longer expected authors in the flesh to be the 
original and captivating creatures they were between 
pasteboard covers. Doubtless like many another, this 
Penelope Turner, who allured, tantalized and enthralled 
in print, was just an everyday girl without one quality 
out of the ordinary to redeem her. And yet, try as he 
would to make himself believe it, he could not really 
think so. There was too much in her novel that went 
beneath the skin and which could only have been gained 
from living. Her men' and women were not alone the 
beings of her fancy ; they had minds that reasoned, hearts 
that throbbed, souls that suffered and triumphed. Such 
red blood was not to be squeezed from the dead agencies 



136 GRANITE AND CLAY 

of paper and pencil. The girl (he wondered why he in- 
variably pictured her as a girl) must in truth have ex- 
perienced, at least to some extent, the thing she painted. 

As the clock ticked out the minutes he found himself 
almost dreading to behold Galatea descended from her 
pedestal. If through the medium of a typewriter she 
were able to cast such a spell over him, what weapons 
had he with which to meet her piquant dialogue, the 
fascination of her humor, the whole feminine charm of 
her ? Oh, she was she must be old in the arts, Miss 
Penelope Turner either old or very na'ive, fearless and 
young. He was at a loss to decide which. 

Nervously he lighted a cigarette and puffed little rings 
of pale blue into the air. Then suddenly fearing the 
fastidious Miss Turner might object to smoke he boy- 
ishly tossed the freshly burning stub aside and rising; 
opened the window. How absurd, thought he with a 
shrug, as he sat down again, for him to be so much 
concerned with the likes and dislikes, of this unknown 
aspirant to fame. Why, one would almost think it 
was he and not she whose fate hung in the editorial 
balance ! 

Still she did not come. Although a clock confronted 
him, for the twentieth time he automatically took out 
his watch and this time before he returned it to his pocket 
he had the wit to pause and examine it long enough to 
wonder if it could be right, compare it with the timepiece 
above his desk and absently wind it up. This feat was, 
however, performed with so much preoccupation that he 
kept on with it until a rebellious snap of the mainspring 
brought him suddenly to himself. 

A muttered " Qt9P ! ' escaped him and replacing the 
now silenced article in his waistcoat he renewed his grim 
vigil. 

He would give the enchantress five minutes more be- 



A DISCOVERY 137 

fore he shut her out of paradise; then, whether or no, he 
would go out hang her ! Should she care to remain 
and await his return she might be the one to pace the floor 
and fidget. Yet would she? There were qualities in 
that manuscript of hers that made him uneasy on this 
point. Would she not be far more likely to toss her 
pretty head (it must be pretty) and sweep out of his do- 
main never to reenter it again? Certainly he could not 
afford to have that happen. 

It was now half-past eleven. Evidently Penelope Tur- 
ner was not coming. 

He drew a blank sheet of paper toward him and began 
to scrawl on it crude little figures of men and animals. 
Then he rang the bell. , 

" That Miss Turner to whom you sent the note yester- 
day, Miss Stevens, has not put in her appearance. You 
are sure the letter was mailed." 

" Yes, sir." 

" That's all. I'll wait a few moments longer and then 
I'll have to leave for lunch. I have an appointment at 
the Club." 

The door closed and again Hamilton was alone. From 
the pile of letters on his desk he singled out one that 
had come from the bindery and with one eye on the clock 
read it half-heartedly. Then, because he could not focus 
his attention on it, he jammed it back into its envelope 
and irritably tossed it once more with the others. He'd 
better go to lunch. After that perhaps he would feel 
more like settling down to work. With this determina- 
tion he rose, but before he had secured hat or overcoat 
the office telephone tinkled and faintly above the siren 
horn of a passing fire-engine he heard the operator's 
voice. 

There is a lady here, Mr. Hamilton. Will you see 
her?" 



138 GRANITE AND CLAY 

"What name?" 

" Miss ' ' the reply was lost in the hubbub outside 

but he caught a single syllable. 

" Who ? ' Again the rumble of traffic blotted out the 
sound. 

" Oh, no matter," returned Hamilton peevishly. 
" Send her up." 

He put his hand to his tie and straightened it. He 
was not vain but to-day he was nervous. 

A moment later the door opened admitting a rather 
diminutive and decidedly shabby young person who, after 
advancing a few feet into the room, lingered with tim- 
idity on the rug as if uncertain whether to stand there 
or approach nearer. So shy was she that she scarcely 
lifted her head and Hamilton was actually sorry for her. 
Of course, decided he, leaping at a swift conclusion, this 
short name he had heard from the operator was Dawn 
and this was the Miss Rachel Dawn whose rejected man- 
uscript, lovingly tied with blue ribbon, lay at that very 
moment on his desk. Poor child! Judging from her 
faded serge and her much-\vorn hat she needed money 
badly and would be grievously disappointed when she 
heard his decision on her story. To tell her seemed like 
dealing a blow to the defenseless. He had always con- 
tended that the business world was no place for a wom- 
an, anyway. He wished to goodness he could either 
publish the book or that she had not come. It was so 
much easier to dictate a polite refusal and tumble it into 
the mail than it was to speak the same cruel words point- 
blank to as expectant and helpless a creature as this. 
Then his eye was caught by the printer's letter lying on 
his desk and recollecting what the increased rates de- 
manded were going to mean, he realized he could not 
afford to give way to sentiment. 

Rachel must be treated kindly but firmly, encouraged, 



A DISCOVERY 139 

and sent away with her blue-ribboned product. It was a 
disagreeable but inevitable duty. 

He cleared his throat. 

" About that manuscript of yours," began he, finger- 
ing his watch guard and not looking up. 

" Yes ? ' The tension in the monosyllable was dis- 
concerting. 

" It was very good of you to submit it to us and we 
are extremely sorry to be obliged to return it" 

The woman before him did not speak. 

" Not but what your story has much merit," went on 
Hamilton quickly. " Indeed it contains a great deal that 
is excellent. But it is not quite what we want. It lacks 
both the elements of suspense and strength two impor- 
tant essentials to the successful book. Were we to pub- 
lish it as it now stands I am sure that sometime in the 
future, when you had acquired greater skill and power, 
you would regret it. I am afraid this decision is dis- 
appointing but ' he glanced with a kind smile toward 
the eyes which he felt conscious were fixed upon him. 
At the sight of them, however, he started, a haunting 
memory awakened by their clear gaze. 

" Why eh ' he stammered, breaking off awk- 
wardly. 

" You do not remember me." 

" I fear I must own to my stupidity." 

" I am the girl you found crying on the sand at Belle- 
port." 

" Upon my word, so you are ! ' 

" I did write a book even though you cautioned me not 
to, you see," the girl continued with a wan, half-defiant 
little smile. " Evidently, however, I'd much better not 
have done so since you are sending it back." 

Hamilton's mind traveled with speed. 

So Rachel Dawn was from Belleport ! And probably, 



140 GRANITE AND CLAY 

poor child, she had spent all her savings coming to the 
city in search of fame. He scowled at the thought. It 
was a pity such persons would not heed the advice of 
those who knew, instead of throwing away time and 
money in a chase for the end of the rainbow. Judging 
from the literary attempt she now offered, a long, weary 
path lay between her and that coveted pot of gold. If 
she were willing to travel it, well and good ; it was prob- 
able that in time she would reach her goal. But if she 
expected success at once he must assure her that such 
a dream was impossible of fulfillment. In order to 
soften the blow he felt he must ultimately deliver, he 
dallied. 

Have you been long in Boston? ' 
I have been here since March," was the low answer. 
" I hoped to stay on and do some more writing. That 
all depends, though, on the fate of this book." 

" So you never married that chap who was in love with 
you ? ' ventured Hamilton reminiscently. 

"Dick Morton? Oh, no. I told you then I never 
should." 

A faint smile played about her lips. She was really 
rather attractive when she smiled very attractive. 
And what was there in her eyes that made one wish to 
look into them again and again? Given some descent 
clothes and shoes he glanced down and noticed what 
a pretty little foot she had. 

" But w r omen have been known to change their minds." 

" I never do," was the spirited answer. 

" You are really determined to rule this unfortunate 
young man out of the running and take up a literary 
career ? ' 

" Yes," came firmly from the girl. 

" But, my dear young lady, do you realize that literary 
careers are not easy fields in which to secure success and 



" 

" 



A DISCOVERY 141 

win a livelihood? Out of the scores of books written 
and submitted for publication only a very small percent- 
age ever see the light. In these days the expense of get- 
ting out a book is so great that firms cannot afford to 
gamble with possible failures. A story must not only 
be worth reading but it must pay its way." 

" And you do not think mine will ? ' 

" I am afraid not." 

The reply was uttered with genuine regret and in- 
stantly Hamilton saw the expectant eyes cloud and the 
lashes droop over them like a curtain. 

" Not but what you have done uncommonly well for 
a first try," he hastened to add. "If you were willing 
to put in a good lot of hard work and stick at it, there 
is a chance that you might win out in time. Our house, 
however, maintains a rather conservative and exacting 
standard and this you fail as yet to reach." 

" I understand." 

She rose and moved with dignity toward the door. 

" You have been very kind," she said. 

Knowing what the verdict must have meant, Hamilton 
could not repress his admiration at the manner in which 
she accepted it. What a bully little loser she was! 

" Shall I forward the manuscript to you or would you 
prefer to take it with you ? 3 

" Fd rather take it now, thank you." 

" I believe it happens to be right here on my desk. I 
will have it wrapped up for you." 

With one hand on the blue-ribboned sheaf of paper 
he reached toward the bell. 

" But that isn't my story, Mr. Hamilton." 

" I beg your pardon ! ' ' responded the man blankly. 

" I say that that manuscript all rolled up and tied with 
ribbon is not mine." 

The publisher paused, nonplused. 



142 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" Aren't you Miss Dawn Miss Rachel Dawn?' in- 
quired he sharply. 

" No." 

" Then who in " he stopped in helpless wonder. 

" In the deuce am I ? " completed the girl, with a mis- 
chievous laugh. 

" Exactly ! " 

" Why, I'm Penelope Turner." 

" My word ! ' ' gasped Gordon Hamilton weakly. 

" I understood you wanted to see me," ventured the 
girl. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE VICTOR 

PROBABLY the ever debonair Mr. Hamilton of Beck and 
Hamilton had never been more disconcerted in all his 
life or less successful in concealing it. 

" I certainly do want to see you, Miss Turner," he 
contrived to stammer, his bearing instantly transformed 
from pity to a discomfited graciousness. " Won't you 
please be seated ? ' 

" But I know I am detaining you." Penelope mo- 
tioned toward the hat and gloves lying suggestively on 
his desk. 

' Not in the least," Hamilton protested. 
You were going out, however, weren't you ? I know 
I am late. You see, I have not yet learned my way about 
the city, and the business section still confuses me." 

" It confuses many another beside you," was the retort. 
te I wish we might borrow not only some of your Cape 
Cod peace and quiet but some of its simplicity as well." 

"You like the Cape?' She brightened. 

" I used to spend all my summers near Hyannis when 
I was a boy. We owned a house there. Since it has 
been sold I am compelled to patronize the hotels; it is 
the best I can do. I had stolen off for a week-end of 
fishing at the time ' 

" You caught me crying on the beach," put in the girl. 
' I must have presented a very ridiculous spectacle that 
day. But you see I had been getting ready for that cry 
for weeks." 



144 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" Under the circumstances you must have cursed me 
for interrupting it," said Hamilton quizzically. 

" I think I did mildly," admitted Penelope, flashing 
him a smile. " I do not often cry and it was not only 
annoying but mortifying to be caught at it. However, 
since I was so uncontestably submerged in tears there 
was no use in pretending I wasn't weeping." 

" I hope that one torrent cleared your sky and that you 
have had no cause to grieve since." 

" I haven't really cried, but I have worried a good 
deal," was the na'ive confession. " Whether I cry again 
or not depends on you." 

"On me?" 

" Yes." 

" Oh, you mean that the fate of your story will decide 

it." 

" Certainly. Naturally I am very anxious to hear 
what you are going to say about it. Are you going to 
turn it down ? ' She moved to the edge of her chair, 
the fingers of her worn gloves tightly interlaced. 

" No, Miss Turner," Hamilton answered, instantly 
grave. " On the contrary, we shall be only too pleased 
and proud to publish it." 

He expected a response of pleasure or satisfaction, 
but she made none and shooting a glance at her he saw 
the tenseness of her figure relax and her lips quiver. It 
was not until that moment that he sensed how worn and 
thin she looked. The flush that had colored her face, 
when she entered, had entirely vanished, leaving her 
pallid to the lips. Still watching her, Hamilton shifted 
his position nervously. The movement seemed to rouse 
her and with obvious effort she forced herself to speak: 

"I am very glad." 

The words were so low that they were breathed rather 
than uttered. He noticed that she was trembling. 



THE VICTOR 145 

Nevertheless she fought determinedly for self-control and 
presently added in a firmer, although still weak tone, as 
if struggling to make the fact a reality : 

" So you like my book actually like it ! ' 

" I do exceedingly," announced the publisher. " It is 
an exceptionally fine piece of work and I congratulate 
you." 

" It wasn't a piece of work/' the girl objected. ' It 
was something I had to say just as I had to cry. I 
couldn't help it." 

" I wish we had more such spontaneous literature." 

" It comes at a high price," sighed she more to herself 
than to him. ' I have been very unhappy." 

" And out of your unhappiness has grown this beauty," 
the man said gently. You may well be proud to have 
converted your clouds into a thing as exquisite." 

" I am not proud," came softly from Penelope, ' ' but I 
am more glad than I can say. I think my grandfather 
will be pleased." 

" I am sure he will be." 

" It has meant a lot for him to let me come up here 
from Belleport. Had I dreamed how expensive it was 
going to be, I should never have dared to suggest such a 
plan. Once here, however, I felt I must stay until I had 
made good." 

" You certainly have done it." 

Evidently she did not trust herself to speak, for instead 
of answering she resolutely fought back the tears that 
trembled on her lashes. 

" You you really think some copies of the story will 
sell? " she at last inquired timidly. 

" I don't think so I know it." 

She scrutinized him unbelievingly. 

" You are not joking? ' 

"Joking! Not at all." 



146 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" Or or just saying it to be kind? ' 

" No, indeed ! ' was the vehement protest. 

Again she studied his face. 

" When do you suppose ' she began, then paused. 
" How long will it take to print the book and sell 
it?" 

" Oh, we shall bring it out right away. Probably 
within six or eight months." 

The words brought a cry of dismay. 

" But that is almost a year. Couldn't you do it 
sooner? ' 

' Sooner? Why, my dear Missi Turner, six months 
is a very short time in which to get a book upon the 
market. You do not realize what it means to edit, print 
and bind it, let alone advertising and traveling it. No- 
body has yet heard of you, you know. Therefore we 
must pave your way by a blare of trumpets, and to sound 
these from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific, to say 
nothing of Australia and Canada, will require carefully 
organized publicity." 

" And no books can be sold until then? ' 
: I am afraid not," responded Hamilton in a soothing 
voice. 

Many times before it had fallen to his lot to confront* 
impatient young authors eager to see their first work in 
print, and comfort them. This one, however, to his sur- 
prise exhibited none of the symptoms characteristic of 
the novice in the world of business. She neither fretted 
nor fumed but was strangely still, and fearing that she 
was too deeply vexed and disappointed to reply he rose 
and stood before her, looking into her downcast face. 
It was then he observed with a shock that she was really 
ill. Still she made an heroic effort to retain her hold 
upon herself. 

' I had hoped ' began she, moving her hand grop- 



THE VICTOR 147 

ingly toward the arm of the chair. The words trailed 
off into silence. She had fainted. 

Hamilton was a man of the world and not an impul- 
sive person, and therefore it was strange, he reflected 
afterward, that in the emergency that surprised him he 
did not follow the conventional course, call Miss 
Stevens, summon a cab and send the girl home. Ordi- 
narily that was what he would have done. But in this 
particular instance it never occurred to him to< do any 
of these things. He was too keenly interested in the 
pitiful little figure huddled in the great chair. 

His mother's invalidism had brought him into such 
daily contact with sickness that he experienced in its 
presence none of the helplessness and fear peculiar to 
most masculinity. Nevertheless it was not alone because 
he knew what to do that he assumed full responsibility 
in the present crisis. Other women had fainted and he 
had not felt called upon to do more than offer a per- 
functory sympathy and shunt them off on the first of 
their kind who was within call. But with Penelope Tur- 
ner it was different. With swift strokes of imagina- 
tion he drew in the grim human tragedy. Too self- 
respecting to ask aid and unwilling to write home for 
more money, she had apparently gone without food un- 
til she was at the brink of starvation. At least, that was 
the story as he divined it, and as he worked to restore 
consciousness to the inert being before him there was 
ample evidence to bear out his hasty diagnosis. All 
Hamilton's righteous wrath rose and his quixotic chivalry 
awakened as with reverent touch he chaffed the cold, al- 
most transparent hands. 

Alone in the city and starving! With shame he 
thought bitterly of the money he had tossed away on a 
hundred useless and needless things the money a reck- 
less generation was squandering on foolish pleasures. A- 



148 GRANITE AND CLAY 

millionth part of it would have kept this girl in healtK. 
It was terrible enough for men to starve but a woman ! 
Well, no prying eyes should behold her in her misfor- 
tune and morbidly gloat over her pathetic history. He 
would see to that. And when her book was published, 
there shoud be no breath of patronizing gossip about its 
author. To every individual connected with Beck and 
Hamilton, to the world at large, Penelope Turner should 
stand forth a princess, a triumphant genius, supreme in 
the glory to which her pen entitled her. 

Poor child ! Brave little fighter ! 

She had struggled for her crown and she should wear 
it with queenly honors. 

Swiftly Gordon Hamilton mapped out his course. 
He would call a taxi and take the girl to his own house 
where once sheltered from the eyes of the public and in 
the custody of old Catherine she should be given the 
rest and nourishment she needed. Otherwise how could 
he be certain she would receive proper care? Only the 
exceptional landlady would take the trouble to nurse a 
penniless lodger back to life. Such service was not 
within the bond. Instead, the unlucky girl would prob- 
ably be rushed off to a hospital, and the woman who ac- 
cepted the modest fee for her room would thank her 
stars that she was rid of this unexpected burden. As 
Hamilton pictured a hospital ward where' the penniless 
of a great city are herded together, everything in him 
rebelled at placing Penelope Turner in such a place. She 
who had battled so valiantly to keep her poverty a secret ! 
Who had known the niceties of life! It was impos- 
sible! No, the only consistent thing was to take her 
home; shield her from discovery and restore her to 
health. 

That such a plan was drastic and unconventional he 
did not pause to consider, or if objections to it arose 



THE VICTOR 149 

in his mind he quickly brushed them aside, offering as 
argument the urgency of the case. Whatever was hu- 
mane was right; and what was right he would not hesi- 
tate to perform. Nevertheless, as he sped down Beacon 
Street in the taxi which he had at once ordered with his 
only semi-conscious companion beside him, he did sense 
that Catherine might be somewhat astounded at the pro- 
ceeding and raise a protest against such unheard-of phi- 
lanthropy. Although born in Scotland she had imbibed 
enough Boston conservatism not to enjoy novel innova- 
tions, especially unless she were consulted concerning 
them beforehand. She did not like to have the clockwork 
of the home disturbed. In this instance, granted Gor- 
don, she certainly would have some claim to be both 
amazed and flurried. It was unfortunate the entire 
Hamilton household had held to such methodical living 
that they had worn ruts so deep as to have well-nigh 
eliminated the quality of adaptability from their natures. 
It made it harder for him to explain his sudden altruism 
and for them to understand it. 

In fact, now that the moment for confronting the old 
family retainers approached, he was surprised to find 
himself overwhelmed by a relic of the same apprehension 
he had experienced when, as a boy, he had scratched the 
floor with his roller skates or robbed the cookie jar. 
Tradition is strong and neither Catherine nor Roberts 
had ever been indulgent to wrong doers. Yet as he 
looked down at the girl whose head drooped against his 
arm and noted the purple shadows that circled her closed 
eyes, he was ashamed that he should not have more moral 
courage than to allow his servants to intimidate him. 
After all, whose house was it? And what was a home 
for if one could not play the good Samaritan in it now 
and then? 

As the car jolted over a crossing he raised Penelope's 



150 GRANITE AND CLAY 

head a little higher against his shoulder. How blind he 
had been not to have recognized from the first moment 
how frail she was ! Why, in his ignorance and stupidity 
he might have dealt her her death blow. But she had 
been so deceivingly gay! How splendid of her to be 
game when facing defeat and collapse only when suc- 
cess was won. Many a victor in a hard-earned race had 
dropped as he crossed the tape. So it had been with 
Penelope. Studying her, his gaze traveled from her dis- 
ordered hair to her long lashes and the ivory whiteness 
of her skin. 

Apparently she was oblivious as to where she was being 
carried, if indeed she sensed at all any of the happenings 
of the present. 

In the confusion of the noon hour he and the chauffeur 
had been able to conduct her to the car without observa- 
tion. Up to the present all had been very simple. But 
to appear with her before Catherine, Roberts and the 
rest was no such easy matter. At the office he reigned 
supreme; at home he was merely the lowest subject of 
a domestic autocracy. 

As the streets flew past and he neared the familiar 
dwellings of his neighbors he gasped involuntarily at the 
daring of his action. HOW T had he ever had the audacity 
to conceive, much less perpetrate such a mad scheme? 
Well, it was done now or as good as done and he 
must face it out without betraying how apologetic he 
actually felt. To confess to fear was to weaken his 
power. 

The driver had evidently misunderstood the number 
of the house and was passing it when Hamilton tapped 
sharply on the glass, bringing the car to a sudden stop 
before the curb. 

Penelope opened her eyes and looked at him vaguely. 
We are getting out here/' he said very gently, men- 



.. 



THE VICTOR 151 

tally cursing the stupidity of the chauffeur. ' Let me 
help you." 

She made no objection. In fact, she did not seem to 
comprehend the words, although she responded to his 
command with a certain passive obedience. 

" Run ahead there and ring the bell," called he impa- 
tiently to the gaping taxi driver. " Tell my butler I 
want him." 

It was the first plunge. 

Roberts, trembling with amazement, hurried out to the 
sidewalk. His master never came home at this hour of 
the day and seldom in a taxi. Some unprecedented ca- 
lamity must, of course, have befallen him. When, how- 
ever, he beheld Mr. Hamilton descending from the mo- 
tor car and supporting a young woman whose face was 
entirely unfamiliar to him, his wonder knew no* bounds. 
He prided himself on his knowledge of the social register 
and his familiarity with the faces of Boston's elite. But 
this shabbily attired female was not of the city's chosen; 
that went without saying. 'Nevertheless there was in 
him too much of the thoroughbred to betray surprise, and 
when told to assist in getting the lady into the house he 
obeyed with his customary alacrity, every muscle of his 
countenance as immovable as that of a bronze Buddha. 

But Catherine, who had been a member of the Hamil- 
ton household longer than even Gordon himself, unfor- 
tunately possessed a more demonstrative and less easily 
controlled temperament, and claiming her right of senior- 
ity she made her astonishment quite evident when she saw 
the stranger huddled on the hall settle. 

' Mercy on us, Mr. Gordon, whatever is the matter? ' 
ejaculated she breathlessly. ' An accident ? ' 
Hamilton summoned all his fortitude. 
" No, there's been no accident, Catherine ; Miss Turner 
is just ill and I have brought her home." He 'tried to 



152 GRANITE AND CLAY 

speak as if the occurrence was no more than an everyday 
happening. 

Catherine fixed her small beady eyes upon him, in- 
quiry shining from their depths. 

" I want you to help me, Catherine," he went on cast- 
ing his dignity to the winds. " Will you ? ' 

Ah, he had struck the right note; in an instant her ex- 
pression shifted from antagonism to friendliness. With- 
out appearing to notice the transformation he continued : 

" I know what an excellent nurse you are and I am 
relying on you to use your skill. We men are helpless 
creatures," concluded he with a deprecatory gesture. 

" You certainly are," was the condescending and com- 
placent reply. ' But you can't expect me to work in the 
dark. What is the matter with the young lady ? ' 

" I hardly know," answered Hamilton guardedly. 
" We shall have to call the doctor and find out." 

" You haven't any idea ? ' the housekeeper gasped in- 
credulously. 

" She seems tired and to need a little building up." 
The sharp black eyes of the old servitor were upon him 
and the jaunty off-handedness of the- reply failed ig- 
nominiously. Well aware that the elaborate carelessness 
concealed the truth which she demanded, the woman 
waited. 

' Perhaps we'd better not delay now for talk," Ham- 
ilton said. "If you can get a room ready ' 

" The rooms are always ready," Catherine returned 
stiffly. " Which one do you wish used? ' 

Again Hamilton blushed an.d looked straight before 
him, determination in his every feature. 

" The front one is the pleasantest, isn't it ? It gets 



more sun. 

" Your mother's room? " 



Why not? 



THE VICTOR 153 



" It never has been used since ' 

" I know;" interrupted the man, cutting short the sen- 
tence. " But I have been intending for some time past 
to use it. This will be a good occasion on which to 
begin." 

" You want me to leave all the things there ? ' 

" Certainly. That is, everything that makes it com- 
fortable and pleasant. If you will just dust and air 
it " 

" It is always dusted and aired ; there is no room in 
this house that isn't! " sniffed Catherine. t If you mean 
to have it used it is ready." 

" Fine ! Then Roberts and I will help Miss Turner up 
there." 

" I can help you," was the jealous protest. ' Roberts 
much better be telephoning the doctor. He is* no use 
upstairs. Men are only in the way when it comes to 
sickness." 

" I am afraid that is' so," agreed Gordon meekly. 
Since he had made the same statement himself only a 
few seconds before, he felt he could not in conscience 
refute it. " Perhaps if he could fetch a glass of 
cognac ' 

"He's gone for it," was- the majestic retort 

She rose. It was evident that before the incident was 
closed she had something more to say. 

" As I've told you many times, I think it's always better, 
when you are expecting to bring guests home, to let me 
know ahead. You might at least telephone. It is very 
upsettin' to have unexpected company especially a 



woman.' 



" I realize that," was the humble reply. ' But in this 
case I could not let you know. I didn't know it myself." 

As she regarded him a score of questions spoke in her 
eyes and trembled on her tongue. Nevertheless she did 



154 GRANITE AND CLAY 

not utter them but turned away with an unsatisfied sigh. 
At least she had said her say. 

" We shall have to do the best we can," he heard her 
murmur, " and put up with makeshifts." 

The makeshifts, so termed, in spite of the dispirited 
designation, could not really be considered to carry with 
them any great degree of martyrdom, for had Penelope's 
arrival been expected few details could have been added 
to welcome her. Even flowers on the dressing-table were 
not lacking. 

" Give her a little broth or milk at intervals ; let her 
sleep; and don't talk to her," commanded Doctor Towner. 
" It is possible she may sleep way into to-morrow. 
Should she do so, there will be no cause for alarm. She 
is tired out and needs rest. Whenever she rouses, 
however, feed her sparingly. I'll look in in the morn- 

ing." 

" There is nothing more that we can do ? ' queried 
Hamilton, anxiously confronting the physician as he 
descended the stairs. 

" Nothing. She will come out of this all right, al- 
though it may require some little time," was the reassur- 
ing answer of the physician as he slipped into his coat. 
" To diagnose the case frankly I should say the girl had 
been starved." There was veiled curiosity in his 
scrutiny. 

"I I am afraid so," faltered Hamilton. 

" I suppose such cases are not unusual in large cities," 
observed Doctor Towner, " but we seldom get them until 
it is too late. You say this Miss Turner is a ' 

" An acquaintance friend, yes," stammered Gordon. 
" I had no idea, however, that she was overworking." 

" And starving herself at the same time," put in the 
doctor curtly. 

" No; of course not." 



THE VICTOR 155 

Doctor Towner, who had not only ushered Gordon 
into the world but followed both his parents to* the con- 
fines of eternity, had for half a century been the confidant 
of the family and like Catherine was familiar with every 
tradition of the Hamilton household. Therefore he 
realized as well as did every one else that the present 
happening was phenomenal and to be kept in the dark 
concerning it did not please him. Had he not a legiti- 
mate right to know this mysterious stranger's history? 
He certainly thought so. Nevertheless, no information 
appeared to be forthcoming, and with a shrug he drew 
on his gloves. 

" I'll be in in the morning," repeated he, taking up his 
bag. 

" I wish you could get in before I start for the office," 
Gordon replied. " I should like to be reassured about 
the case before I leave home." 

" How will eight-thirty do? " 

" That will suit me to a turn." 

" All right, I'll do that." 

The door banged as the doctor let himself out. 

But as he stepped into the street and beckoned to his 
chauffeur Doctor Towner was thoughtful. 

" Gordon seems 4aftitil& anxious about that girl," he 
mused to himself. ' I wonder where he picked her up. 
She* may be some employee of his who has been under- 
paid, and has collapsed in consequence, and perhaps his 
conscience troubled him when he found it out. He has 
some obligation toward her you may be sure of that. 
It is no idle philanthropy. And if it were, it isn't like 
the Hamiltons to meet it in this fashion. They would 
hand out the money generously enough but they never 
would break their' traditions by taking promiscuous per- 
sons into their home. I doubt if Gordon would go that 
length either. No, sir ! There's a story behind all this. 



156 GRANITE AND CLAY 

But whatever it is, Gordon Hamilton isn't telling it." 
Possibly had Hamilton known the conclusion to which 
the doctor's imagination had leaped he might have been 
tempted to break silence and do so. 



CHAPTER XVII 

AN UNEXPECTED MEETING 

IN fact, it was amazing how little Hamilton did con- 
trive to tell during the hours that immediately followed. 
Late in the afternoon he returned from the office, learned 
that Miss Turner was still sleeping and went to his room 
to dress for the Wilmots' dinner. This ceremonial he 
performed reluctantly. As he fastened his collar he de- 
cided he was growing old. Not only was he fagged by 
a disturbing day but keenly as he delighted in Peggy's 
society, he much preferred to see her alone rather than 
in company with friends so much his juniors. Of late 
he had begun to find the chatter of the young exceed- 
ingly boresome; moreover when these returned war- 
workers got together, the man who had remained at home 
held only a superficial place in the conversation. In addi- 
tion to these objections there was to-night a marked un- 
willingness to leave home. The urge to stretch himself 
in his leather chair with the paper and a good book and 
be on hand in case Penelope Turner roused and asked for 
him was so strong as to be almost irresistible. 

Yet his tyrannical New Englandism seldom allowed 
him to break a promise, and to cancel a dinner engage- 
ment at the last moment was according to his immutable 
social and ethical codes an enormity for which only sud- 
den death furnished justifiable excuse. Then there was 
Peggy to consider. He would sacrifice much rather 
than disappoint her. So with lagging hand he tied his 
s 



158 GRANITE AND CLAY 

tie, slipped into his coat and descended the stairs to the 
beat of the motor-car he could hear panting at the curb. 
He was not, however, to escape so easily, for as Roberts 
approached to hand him his hat, Catherine tiptoed into 
the hall. In her eyes he could read the same questions 
he had been conscious were there ever since the moment 
he had brought Penelope into the house, but now curios- 
ity was blended with reproach. Nevertheless, he ignored 
the dumb interrogation resolutely. 

" Is she still asleep? " he whispered. 

Catherine nodded. 

" That's good. Remember you can call Doctor 
Towner should you need him ; and in case of actual emer- 
gency you can telephone me at the Wilmots, you know." 

" Yes." 

Although there seemed to be nothing further to say, 
she loitered while Hamilton drew on his gloves. But 
except to nod a good night he gave her no second glance. 

" You need not wait up for me, Roberts," said he, tak- 
ing his hat from the old servant. ' I have my latchkey 
and I shall not want anything." 

A rush of air swept in through the great door and he 
was in the street. As he shot along the crowded thor- 
oughfare, flashing with moving lights, he pondered un- 
easily as to what might occur in his absence. Suppose 
Miss Turner should rouse and object to the part he had 
so high-handedly taken in her affairs? She certainly 
had cause to challenge his interference, well-intentioned 
as it was. At present everything seemed to indicate that 
the sleeping powder Doctor Towner had prescribed would 
insure unbroken rest for many hours, but if it failed to 
do so there was liable to be an awkward scene, which 
might be rendered even the more distressing if he were 
not present to curb its force. Altogether, Gordon was 
impatient to have the evening over, and it demanded every 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING 159 

ounce of his will power to face Margaret Wilmot and 
her father and greet them in his customarily light-hearted 
fashion. 

The guests had assembled when he entered the draw- 
ing-room and at a distant table beneath the lamp he could 
see Nathalie Sears and Nancy Endicott turning over an 
album of snapshots and chatting gayly with a broad-shoul- 
dered stranger possessed of a pleasing voice and delight- 
fully infectious laughter. Gordon knew both the girls, 
for they were children of younger matrons in his own 
set. For years he had danced with their mothers only 
to be handed down at last like some precious heirloom 
to the debutante daughters by whom he was regarded as 
a valuable social asset. 

Nancy Endicott, small, dark and vivacious, was not 
only an exceptionally pretty girl but an unusually well- 
groomed one ; nevertheless she had failed to win the pop- 
ularity of Nathalie Sears who, although not beautiful, 
had a coaxing little way of saying to every man she met : 

" Really? I never knew that before. Do tell me 
about it! You men always know so much." 

This password had been her sesame to> favor and while 
her adorers burbled into her ear tales of stocks and bonds, 
of mines and machinery, she listened with wondering 
blue eyes fixed raptly on their faces and drank in their 
words of wisdom with an intent air very appealing. It 
was an old trick and not an especially original one but it 
never failed her. She was, in fact, resorting to the 
threadbare device when Gordon approached, for he heard 
her lisp to the tall young man bending over her : 

" Sometime you must tell me how you clever people 
in State Street manage to make so much money. I'd 
love to know." 

" Lots of the rest of us would love to, too," laughed 
Mr. Wilmot good-humoredly, who had caught the remark 



160 GRANITE AND CLAY 

and recognized the countersign. " What do you think 
State Street is, Nathalie a sort of mint? ' 

She dimpled, flushing pink as the coral of her gown. 

" Well, you know you all do get horribly rich down 
there,'' she pouted. "Isn't it so, Mr. Hamilton?" 

" Oh, you mustn't put such a sordid question to Mr. 
Hamilton, dear," interrupted Nancy Endicott. ' A man 
who spends his days among such highbrow things as 
books does not concern himself with filthy lucre." 

"Hear! Hear! I object," Mr. Wilmot laughed. 
" We do not rate our business as a sordid one, do we, 
youngster ? ' 

He touched the elbow of the man. examining the 
pictures. 

" Gordon, I want you to meet one of my boys from 
France," he continued. * He was a captain in my com- 
pany and I am sure you will be the more eager to know 
him when I tell you he was the chap responsible for 
Peggy's rescue at Neuilly." 

Instantly Hamilton's hand shot out, catching the 
other's palm in a firm grasp. 

" What can one say in gratitude for a service like 
that ? : ' queried he with feeling. 

The young soldier made a protesting gesture. 

" There are some things one is only too proud to have 
had the opportunity to do," replied he. 

Although he spoke quietly his voice was one that car- 
ried, and as Hamilton's gaze traveled to Margaret's face 
he saw her blush. 

You are taking me in to dinner, Gordon," she an- 
nounced, stepping between the two men and placing a 
hand on his arm. ' I arranged it on purpose because it 
will give me such a nice opportunity to scold you. You'll 
be powerless to get away and w r ill just have to sit and 
listen. Where have you been all this long time? 3 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING 161 



: Infernally busy," was the lame excuse. : Besides, 
I knew you had a lot to do and would be busy." 

" Did you ever find me too busy to see you ? ' 

They moved toward the dining room. 

" I had no mind to put you to the test," declared Gor- 
don lightly. " Your sense of duty is too strong. Be- 
sides, you have younger friends. I am growing old, 

Peggy." 

' Nonsense ! ' 

" But I am, dear child." 

She put her fingers in her ears. 

" I won't have you say that," asserted she with spirit 
as he drew out her chair and seated her. : In the first 
place it is not true; and in the second, even if it were, I 
should not believe it." 

He cast a furtive glance at her; then looked away. 

" Dad thinks you are working too hard," she remarked. 

" Oh, it's not that," was the moody reply. 

"Then what is it?" 

Hamilton pulled himself together. 

" There, there, don't you go worrying your head about 
me, little woman. I'm all right," he asserted with a 
smile. " Not until this war turmoil settles down and the 
grumblers find out what they want and get it, or resign 
themselves to going without it, shall any of us draw a 
long breath. Just at present everybody seems possessed 
with the lottery spirit of trying to get big money in re- 
turn for a small expenditure of capital. The working 
man is putting in as little as he can and is desirous of 
receiving manyfold what his labor is worth. Those 
higher up are doing the same. Nobody is working for 
the love of doing a fine job for its own sake." 

" There certainly is joy in hard work," answered Mar- 
garet gravely. ' I never understood before I went to 
France what it meant to be physically tired from a long 



162 GRANITE AND CLAY 

day's work. The sensation is a compensation in itself. 
I used to get so worn out that sometimes when it came 
night it seemed as if I never would be able to take up 
the fight again; and yet with the morning the battle 
looked as alluring and well worth the winning as 



ever." 

n 



You were not thinking of yourself ; that was the se- 
cret," Gordon remarked. ' Until our laboring men 
cease to count their hours so assiduously and can toil 
with their minds on their jobs instead of the clock and 
their pay envelopes, they are never going to have con- 
tented spirits. The moral effect of slipshod work is the 
most disastrous influence I know. It cheats the laborer 
of his greatest reward the satisfaction of a task well 
done." 

: It is a satisfaction, isn't it?' Margaret observed 
wistfully. "I'd give worlds if I still had something 
to do." 

' But haven't you something very definite to do al- 
ready, Peggy?' Hamilton questioned. r l should think 
the running of this establishment alone was sufficient to 
keep any one woman occupied." 

' Oh, this house almost runs itself," smiled the girl. 
' I believe it would actually get along quite as well, per- 
haps better, without me." 

" Your father wouldn't." 

" No, I suppose not." 
Your friends need you, too," 

" Oh, they " 

" And and there is Lambeth." 

" Of course." 

The girl took a rose from the table and centering her 
attention on it, fastened it with elaborate care in her 
corsage. 

" I hear he was in Serbia," said Hamilton after a pause. 



AN UNEXPECTED MEETING 163 



Yes." 

(( 



It must have been a tremendously interesting place 
to work." 

" Yes, it was." 

" You saw him before you sailed for home? " the man 
persisted. 

" Yes." 

" How proud you must have been that he was able to 
play such a helpful part in the scrimmage." 

' Everybody has played a helpful part," was the quick 
retort. ' Archie was no exception. The men who 
stayed at home and drudged deserve equal praise. As 
for the men who fought " she stopped abruptly, biting 
her lip. " Come," said she in a different tone. " Let's 
not talk about the war." 

Hamilton saw her glance move restlessly round the 
table until it reached the face of the officer at her elbow, 
where it intercepted a smile. She smiled a quick flash 
in return and looked away with a deepening flush. 

" What is the name of your soldier hero? " he asked in 
an undertone. " I did not catch it when introduced." 

" Morton." 

" Morton ! Not Dick Morton ? " 

" Yes." She wheeled on him with surprise. " Do 
you know him ? ' 

"No; oh, no," Hamilton hastened to say. "But I 
seem to have heard the name before. Where does he 
come from ? ' 

' Some little town on the Cape," responded she. 
" Orleans, or Hyannis, or Wilton I don't just re- 
member." 

" Not Belleport ? " 

" Yes, that's it ! Belleport. How did you know ? " 
Again she regarded him sharply. 

" It was just a guess," answered Hamilton with a 



164 GRANITE AND CLAY 

shrug, turning instinctively to examine over her head the 
stranger's face. 

It was a fine, young, eager face and the elder man 
studied it critically, intently. 

" You seem interested in Mr. Morton," her quiet voice 
broke irt on the silence. 

Hamilton started and turned to find her eyes fixed 
upon him. 

" I beg your pardon*," apologized he. Yes, I was 
interested. Am I not always interested in your 
friends?" 

" You don't know him then," she repeated. 

" Not at all. How should I ? " 

" But you seemed to find the name familiar. And you 
knew Belleport." 

" I have been there summers, you know." 

As if half satisfied, he saw the inquiring look fade. 

" Oh, so you have. I had forgotten that." 

Later on, thinking it over, it came to Hamilton that 
he had let the easy and natural opportunity for mention- 
ing Penelope slip past. He had not meant to conceal her 
existence from, the Wilmots, his best friends. Of course 
he need not have divulged her entire history; but he 
might have spoken of her in guarded fashion. Well, it 
was too- late now. Perhaps some future time he would 
tell Margaret about her. 

Nevertheless he took up his salad fork with the un- 
comfortable consciousness that he had not been quite 
frank, and with the suspicion that the girl in white, sit- 
ting so composedly at his side, knew it. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

A HAZARD 

As it chanced, Hamilton need have experienced no 
anxiety at being away from home during the evening 
for Penelope did not once awaken from the heavy slum- 
ber into which she had fallen. Until nearly midnight 
Catherine, half in fidelity and half in curiosity, with book 
in hand sat just across the threshold of the room Gor- 
don's mother had formerly occupied ; but no sound came 
from the sleeper within. 

Nevertheless, the housekeeper could not read. Al- 
though the volume her fingers listlessly clasped was a tale 
of the absorbing variety she liked, and though there was 
nothing in the world she enjoyed better than a good story, 
to-night her mind wandered so persistently to the stran- 
ger in the nearby chamber that at last she put down the 
novel and gave free rein to- fact, which on this particular 
occasion proved to- be far more entertaining than fiction. 

Who was this girl the master of the house had seen 
fit to bring home? Never within her remembrance had 
her inquisitiveness been so piqued. Hamilton's acquain- 
tances comprised a circle of old Boston families who had 
been friends of his parents so long that she knew who 
most of them were. Frequently, too, he mentioned 
them; and when he went out he almost invariably told 
her where he was going. Hence she had kept close track 
of his goings and comings or thought she had. But 
this girl! She was of a very different type from the 
women with whom the Hamiltons were wont to mingle. 



166 GRANITE AND CLAY 

There was, to be sure, refinement in her face, and the 
hallmarks of gentle breeding; but her clothing was of 
the plainest and some of it was actually threadbare. 
That she was not of Gordon's social world was perfectly 
evident. Where, then, had he met her, and why should 
he have brought her beneath his roof in this extraor- 
dinary fashion? Why, moreover, was he so strangely 
reticent regarding her ? If he had rescued her from some 
unlucky dilemma, what more natural than that he should 
explain the circumstance? Surely half a century of serv- 
ice in a family merited a certain degree of confidence, 
especially if one was called in to aid in a situation so out 
of the common. 

There was no denying the master was close-mouthed 
concerning his affairs and she conceded that he had the 
right to be so long as this silence related to his business 
interests; but his social relations were quite another mat- 
ter, and in those she felt she had the right to share. 
Hanging over her head was there not always the possi- 
bility that he might some day marry? And as such an 
event would doubtless mean she would have to look else- 
where for a home, she could not but regard with anxiety 
every factor that seemed to advance this undesirable 
event. In addition she was, to do her justice, genuinely 
fond of Gordon and her pride in the Hamilton name en- 
gendered no small measure of worry as to what he might 
do. Men of his chivalry and fineness might be so easily 
imposed upon by scheming women. In terms of the 
vernacular, a vulgarity to which Catherine because of 
her Bostonianism seldom resorted, he was a great catch. 
Not only had he money, family and social prestige but 
he had also an unblemished reputation, a prosperous 
business, and a home spoiling for a mistress. That he 
had not married long ago was a marvel, a fortunate 
miracle that she had never been quite able to fathom. 



A HAZARD 167 

At the time when his college chum, Jack Wilmot, had 
married, Gordon had been a great beau, and even for 
years afterward he l\ad gone about first with one girl and 
then with another. Still his name had never been di- 
rectly coupled with any one* of them and in due time they 
had married and left him a bachelor. Then their daugh- 
ters had grown up and he had squandered a fortune giv- 
ing dinners, dances and theater parties for relays of buds. 
He took groups of debutantes and their friends to foot- 
ball games and boat races, and for a, while seemed as 
youthful as any of them. And then, like their forbears, 
this band of associates had joined the ranks of the 
wedded and after bestowing on each a silver vase or 
Sheffield tray, and following it by a porringer for the 
first baby, he had seen them no more. 

Once there had been a time when Catherine had 
thought he might marry Margaret Wilmot; but with the 
announcement of the girl's engagement that possibility 
was banished. Whether an actual romance had ever ex- 
isted behind the friendship was a mystery. All she knew 
was that at forty-five Hamilton was still unmarried and 
did not appear to be ill content with his lot. He en- 
joyed his home and of late had spent more time in it than 
ever before, displaying a far greater interest in its de- 
tails. He had had many of the fine old pieces of fur- 
niture repaired and repolished; had bought fresh hang- 
ings and had redecorated the entire mansion. The beau- 
tiful Hamilton silver, the property of three generations, 
had been dragged from the safe deposit vaults and placed 
upon the sideboard, and not only had the willow dinner 
set been matched up but an entirely new one of gold and 
white had augmented it. The bi-weekly order for 
flowers and plants, canceled after his mother's death, 
had been renewed and recently to her great delight he 
had even ventured to give a few modest dinners at his 



168 GRANITE AND CLAY 

own residence instead of at the club, and had apparently 
found his position as host a pleasant one. When women 
were included among his guests he usually invited some 
young matron of his acquaintance to preside at the table, 
and he was intensely particular that the small details of 
powder, perfume and flowers should not be missing from 
the dressing-table. Concerning feminine perquisites he 
was a connoisseur, not only because of years of training 
in purchasing such trifles for his mother, but because he 
seemed born with a seventh sense as to what women liked. 

So closely had the faithful old servant studied the 
man, his tastes and fancies, his friends and disposition, 
that until to-night she had thought there was really very 
little about him that she did not know. She had pic- 
tured his life an open book every chapter of which, in gen- 
eral terms, she had read affectionately. Evidently, 
however, this supposition had been a fallacy. Sh.e really 
did not know Hamilton at all. Somehow, somewhere, 
was a web of interlaced events in the meshes of wra'ch 
he and the girl who lay sleeping in the adjoining room 
were entangled. 

Not that Catherine thought evil of her master. Did 
not the Hamilton blood run in his veins, and could any 
Hamilton stoop to unworthy action? A true gentleman 
did not sully himself with mire. Yet even so, it was an 
indisputable fact that men were weak and foolish crea- 
tures where women were concerned, and that the older 
they grew the more weak and foolish they were liable 
to become. Many a man of unblemished reputation and 
acknowledged good sense had committed an inanity in 
his second blooming. Look at the women that widowers 
who had been blessed with peerless wives married ! And 
think of the little fluffy-haired, brainless- fools that cool- 
headed bachelors of middle age took unto their bosoms! 
Ah, Catherine had no illusions about the male of the 



A HAZARD 169 

species. And because Gordon Hamilton was human, and 
in spite of his ancestors and his sound judgment was 
quite as likely to become involved in some nonsensical 
romance as were others of his kind, she experienced a 
pang of trepidation both ort his account and her own. 
Probably he had pitied this girl. She knew he had an 
instinctive impulse always to shield womanhood and 
chivalrously place it oil a pedestal, and although not for 
an instant did she harbor the suspicion that he would 
bring home and put into* his mother's room a creature 
he did not believe to be blameless, she felt that, misled 
because of his very respect for the sex, he might readily 
be deceived. 

Well, at least he had not been attracted by a pretty 
face; the gaunt, colorless stranger lying so still against 
the pillows could not by any stretch of the imagination 
be considered beautiful. She must have some other 
claim to his interest than mere physical attraction. What 
was it? 

Thus meditated Catherine, who because of fifty years 
of a type of devotion no money could repay had come to 
say humbly in her heart, Thy people shall be my peo- 
ple." And while she mused, old Roberts, seated in the 
lower hall and matching her in loyalty -to the Hamiltons 
and all that concerned them, also scratched his gray locks, 
yawned and pondered. That the king could do no wrong 
was his gospel. But what Oid it all mean ? Nor was it 
to be wondered at that when glasses of warm milk and 
egg-nogs were demanded of Mary, the venerable cook, 
she should have her questions. Who was ill? 

All this speculating Hamilton had foreseen the day the 
taxicab whirled him home, and he sensed it even more 
vividly to-night when his car dropped him at his own 
door after the Wilmot dinner and he let himself in with 
his latchkey. 



170 GRANITE AND CLAY 

Catherine, on the qui vive for every sound, heard the 
jingle of the lock and came bustling to meet him. Here 
was the moment for which she had waited, the moment 
of revelation! 

" Well ? ' interrogated Gordon, with an upward in- 
flection of the voice. 

" She has not wakened at all, Mr. Gordon." 

" That's good." 

" Do you ," the woman hesitated. 

" You'd better go to bed, Catherine/' broke in Hamil- 
ton kindly. ' It is late and you must be tired. Leave 
the door into your room ajar so you can hear Miss Turner 
should she want anything. I doubt, however, if she does. 
The doctor said she would probably sleep right through 
the night without waking. I am going to turn in myself 
directly. I've had a busy day and am all in." 

As he spoke he placed, his hat and gloves on the bench 
nearby and moved suggestively toward the coat closet. 

Catherine drew in her nostrils sharply. Did Ham- 
ilton actually mean to go to his room and leave her for 
the night with all these questions agitating the weary 
hours before her? It was incredible. Apparently such 
was his intention, for on discovering the faithful Roberts 
to be still up he rang for him -to put out the lights, bade 
them both his habitually courteous good night, and with 
slow step mounted the stairs. 

" You can call me, you know, should anything un- 
usual be needed before morning," he called softly to the 
woman from the landing. 

Ill satisfied with the course events had taken, the old 
housekeeper followed him reluctantly up the staircase and 
on seeing his door close, went on into the little chamber 
that for years had been hers. It was a small bedroom 
adjoining that which Gordon's mother had occupied, and 
many were the nights she had lain there in the darkness, 



A HAZARD 171 

straining her ears for some sound from the sick woman 
whose comfort and well-being had been the primary in- 
terest of her life. To-night as she slipped out of her 
clothes, lighted the night lamp that sentiment had led her 
still ta preserve as a relic of the past, and set the door 
between the rooms ajar, the experiences of the years that 
were gone came vividly back to her. She could see her 
beloved mistress now, delicate and beautiful against the 
pillows of the great mahogany four-poster. Even in her 
illness she had not lost her serene charm nor had the faint 
flush that colored her cheek and contrasted so prettily 
with her soft white hair faded. A dainty, intensely 
dependent woman she had been, with an abhorrence 
for the trend of modern times. About her everything 
in the house revolved and she reigned as completely 
from beneath the silken canopy of her bed as from a 
throne. 

And yet there had come a day when even those who 
Joved her best had prayed with bleeding hearts for her 
release from this world, a day when it had seemed as 
if the aimlessly moving hands and the muttering tongue 
would never be at rest. In imagination the woman who 
had watched so devotedly over her heard again that rush 
of words and the uneasy rustle of the sheets as they were 
tossed to and fro. 

" I must go on I must finish it. I can't go home. 
But the money is almost gone. What shall I do? I 
mustn't ask Grandfather for more. Suppose it is all a 
failure suppose it is ." 

The voice trailed off into a babel of unmeaning 
phrases only to come back again and again to the plaint : 

" Suppose I fail ! Suppose I fail ! ' 

In an instant Catherine was in her wrapper and slip- 
pers, and had tiptoed into the next room. 

girl had drawn herself up into a sitting posture 



172 GRANITE AND CLAY 

and, regarding her with wild, questioning eyes, babbled 
on brokenly about money and grandfather. 

Once she whispered softly, " Dick is ashamed of me," 
and followed the statement with a bitter laugh that re- 
sounded with chilling vibration through the dimness. 

When, however, Catherine approached her and threw 
a wrap over her thin shoulders she offered no protest 
other than to remark: 

" But I shan't go home until it is done. I can't go 
I can't go." 

" Nobody is going to take you anywhere, my dear," 
the older woman said soothingly. Just lie down and 
rest." 

" Rest ! ' She sighed and wearily closed her eyes ; 
but in a moment they opened again. 

" You won't let them take me home ? ' 

" No no, indeed. Nobody is going to touch you." 

The girl brought her face nearer and examined the 
one bending over her; then apparently satisfied by what 
she saw, she sank back on the pillows and once more shut 
her eyes. 

The moment she was quiet Catherine sped to Ham- 
ilton's door and tapped. 

" You will have to call Doctor Towner," said she hur- 
riedly, when Gordon turned the key. ' Miss Turner is 
in a hisrh fever and delirious. I don't dare leave her or 

o 

take the responsibility of letting her go on this way until 
morning. He'd better see her." 

It was three o'clock when the physician arrived and 
Gordon, who had been anxiously pacing his room during 
his visit, descended into the hall to hear his verdict 

" Well ? ' The syllable was tense with concern. 

" The girl is very ill, Gordon. There is no question 
about it. It may be brain fever or merely the result of 
weakness and fatigue. I cannot tell yet. But in any 



A HAZARD 173 

case her parents would better be notified if they live at 
any great distance. You never can tell how an illness 
like this will turn. I suppose you can reach them, can't 



you? 1 

" They are at Belleport." 
" Where's that ? " 



' On the Cape." 

" Well, that's not bad. I'd communicate with them 
in the morning if I were you. You needn't alarm them 
unnecessarily. Still I think it might be just as well for 
them to be at hand." 

He saw Gordon's face change from chagrin to con- 
sternation. 

"I I'm afraid it will take time to get hold of Miss 
Turner's family," he said. You see, I know practically 
nothing of them." 

" But you must know their names, man," the doctor 
exclaimed. 

" I don't." 

" You know nothing about this girl's people ? ' 

" No." 

There was a pause during which Gordon knew that the 
eyes of his inquisitor were boring into him. He was 
also conscious that the physician was waiting for the e.x- 
planation he was determined not to give. 

For a while they stood there in silence and then, turn- 
ing, Doctor Towner picked up his overcoat. 

1 Pardon an old fellow, Gordon," he remarked, as he 
drew on his gloves, " but under the circumstances isn't 
your entire ignorance a bit curious ? ' 

" Perhaps it is," admitted Hamilton with a shrug. 

It was not, however, until the doctor had gone that 
the full force of his dilemma came to Hamilton. He was 
in an awkward plight, damned awkward. He had not 
expected his altruism would land him in such an em- 



174 GRANITE AND CLAY 

barrassing situation. It was going to look a little odd 
to people that he should be sheltering this young woman 
if the fact came to light. Of course, the thing was 
straight enough and could be explained. Nevertheless, 
he rather wished now he had taken somebody into his 
confidence. It would have been far wiser to have told 
the Wilmots or at the outset stated a few of the condi- 
tions to Catherine and Roberts. But he had been so 
eager to protect Penelope in her wretched extremity from 
the prying gaze of the world that he had erred and 
perhaps as a result put both her and himself in a 
compromising light. Certainly for a stranger he had 
assumed a great deal in bringing her to his home without 
her knowledge or consent, worthy as had been his mo- 
tive. 

Viciously he gnawed at his cigar. As the thing had 
turned out it was, he repeated, damned awkward. What 
was he to do now ? 

Of course the girl's grandfather might be named Tur- 
ner and in that instance might be located with only a 
moderate amount of trouble; but on the other hand he 
might bear the name of the other side of the house. It 
was idiotic to telephone to Belleport for information con- 
cerning so nebulous a person as the grandfather of a 
young woman who a few months before had come to 
Boston. Doubtless a score of ambitious females in the 
town had grandfathers whom they had left behind them 
in this same ultra-modern fashion. 

Hamilton tossed aside his cigar and gnawed his lip. 
A nice mess he was in. He had followed a mad, quixotic 
impulse and he was now reaping its harvest. How the 
girl's family would curse him for his interference and 
she, too, probably! 

Then an inspiration came to him. There was Dick 
Morton! He would know about Penelope's relatives. 



A HAZARD 175 

To be sure, Hamilton did not know his address but with- 
out doubt he could be reached at Mr. Wilmot's office. 
That meant, however, dragging the Wilmots in and 
eventually bestowing on Margaret a confidence he had 
withheld until circumstances forced him into tardy can- 
dor. Of course she would resent this. Women were 
very touchy, especially where other women were con- 
cerned, and very sensitive, too. Moreover, how was it 
going to be possible to give her the facts without telling 
her not only of Penelope's poverty and helplessness, but 
of her love affair with Dick Morton, all circumstances 
Hamilton shrunk from betraying? And then arose the 
greatest question of all : if Penelope herself were able to 
decide the matter, would she wish to have young Morton 
summoned to her aid? Might not their relation be such 
that to find herself in his debt would be vastly disagree- 
able to her? 

Never within his memory, sighed Gordon, had he acted 
so short-sightedly as in this affair. And as he now sur- 
veyed the dilemma he was in, he was compelled to own 
that at rock bottom the motive that had really impelled 
him was selfishness and not the philanthropy he had tried 
to blind himself into believing it. It had been primarily 
to foster his own good fortune that he had been so eager 
to nurse Penelope Turner back to life. She held a meas- 
ure of prosperity for him in her hands and so loth was 
he to see harm come to her he had determined to befriend 
her at any cost, put her on her feet again and keep her 
within view until he was assured the masterpiece she had 
produced was his to publish. At bottom the scheme, 
when stripped of sentiment and romance and exposed to 
the cold, pitiless glare of the actual, was purely a busi- 
ness one. And now Fate had suddenly intervened and 
as a rebuke to his greed for worldly prosperity brought 
him face to face with the possibility of a tragic termina- 



176 GRANITE AND CLAY 

tion to the plan that had appeared on the surface so work- 
able. If censure followed his act he confessed with hon- 
esty he deserved it 

Yet, to do him justice, he cared far less what might be 
said of him in the present instance than he did for what 
might be said of the sick girl upstairs. It had been his 
pride that he had led a very conventional and circumspect 
life which had never given scandalmongers the chance 
to bandy his name about. Now he suddenly realized that 
no man's good name is beyond the reach of attack and 
that he was involved in a web of happenings which, al- 
though irreproachable in themselves, might readily lend 
themselves to gossip. This criticism he could face out 
if need be. His past reputation should serve him as a 
helpful ally; besides, a man can always meet a challenge. 
But if blame should attach itself to the girl he had so 
unwittingly enmeshed with himself that was a more vital 
matter and a calamity for which he should never forgive 
himself. 

In view of the web of circumstances might it not be 
wiser to take the risk and disregard Doctor Towner's 
warning, maintain silence and see what the coming day 
brought forth? Towner was habitually cautious and 
might be needlessly alarmed. If it were possible to avoid 
communicating with young Morton, Gordon much pre- 
ferred to do so. Moreover, well as he knew the Wil- 
mots, and dearly as he cherished their friendship, he re- 
coiled from divulging either to them or to anybody else 
Penelope's pitiful story. By chance he had stumbled 
upon a confidence the girl herself would without ques- 
tion never voluntarily have given him. Was it not a 
sacred possession to be guarded from the outside 
world ? 

Yes, he would choose the lesser evil and take the haz- 
ard of delay. If the girl upstairs, was no worse in the 



A HAZARD 177 

morning he might be glad he had disobeyed Towner, 
whom he suspected of being quite as much concerned in 
watching with fatherly care over his morals as he was 
in looking out for the health of Miss Penelope Turner. 



CHAPTER XIX 

MASKED FACES 

PERHAPS had Gordon Hamilton foreseen how far this 
decision was to lead him he would have adopted another 
course of action. But the future is a shrouded figure 
and it lifted its veil no more considerately for Hamilton 
than for the rest of the world. Hence he moved blindly 
on, groping his way a step at a time. 

With the morning Penelope proved to be no better; in 
fact, she was, if anything, slightly worse. Her tempera- 
ture had, to be sure, dropped; and the delirium had 
ceased, but she was alarmingly weak and lay in a sort of 
coma from which she failed to rouse. 

" It is chiefly exhaustion," Doctor Towner declared. 
" The girl is worn out mentally and physically. Rest 
will do her more good than anything else: You don't 
know what she has been doing to get in such a condition 
do you, Gordon ? ' 

" Oh, just overworking at her job, I'm afraid," an- 
swered Hamilton with airy indefiniteness. 

" Heard from her family yet ? ' 

" No." 

" Well, perhaps it is just as well they haven't all piled 
up here. There seems to be no immediate cause for 
alarm and they couldn't do any good." He looked 
shrewdly at Hamilton. " However, it is prudent to have 
them near at hand. The girl isn't out of the woods yet 
by any means." 



MASKED FACES 179 

If he entertained any doubts as to his orders being 
obeyed, at least the physician did not betray them and he 
soon went away promising he would send a nurse to re- 
lieve Catherine. 

After he had gone Gordon loitered a moment in the 
hall to glance over the paper; then he took up his gloves 
and hat. Evidently he could be of no further use at 
home and he therefore determined to walk to the office 
instead of riding. A stroll across the Common would be 
refreshing and give him the chance to think things out. 
But as he moved toward the door Catherine intercepted 
him. 

" Miss Turner still seems very ill," began she without 
preamble. 

" Yes, I am afraid she is." 

" Do her family know ? ' 

" Not yet." 

The housekeeper raised her brows. 

" But you are going to tell them. They may prefer 
to take her home." 

" I hardly think so. Besides, she is now too ill to be 
moved." 

You mean to keep her here ? ' 
I see no other way." 

The woman lapsed into silence. 

"If you object to the care of her, or find it too stren- 
uous, of course I can engage another nurse," continued 
Gordon. 

" Oh, it's not that. You know I am quite used to 
sickness." 

" Then what " 

A sharp note in Gordon's voice warned the old servant 
to interrupt him with the reproachful words: 

" Of course, Mr. Gordon, you must know I am always 
glad to do anything I can for any friend of yours." 



(C 

(t 



180 GRANITE AND CLAY 

; Thanks, Catherine. I was sure you felt that way. 
It is bully of you. If you will just help me this time I 
shall greatly appreciate it." 

" I will, sir," was the meek reply. 

The triumph was one Gordon Hamilton almost in- 
variably won over those with whom he came in contact. 
He was a born conqueror of men. 

You're a brick ! ' ' was all he said in acknowledgment 
of his victory. 

He beamed on her a moment with the smile that never 
failed to disarm and then went out and once more she was 
left with her accumulation of unanswered questions. 

Throughout the day Hamilton took no one into his 
confidence. He walked meditatively to the office, went 
through the business routine his position demanded and 
beyond discussing Miss Turner's novel, Granite ai^d Clay, 
with Mr. Beck he did not mention her name. Neverthe- 
less it was evident that the enthusiasm of the editorial 
office with regard to the manuscript gratified him exceed- 
ingly, almost as much, confided one reader to another, 
as if the book had been his own. That Penelope was not 
in reality out of his thoughts was also evinced by the 
fact that in the afternoon he left for home a trifle earlier 
than was his wont, striding along the crowded pavements 
with feverish haste and crossing the street diagonally at 
the risk of being slaughtered by an on-coming automobile 
in order to avoid a chat with Nathalie Sears whom he 
saw approaching. 

' I suppose Catherine is with Miss Turner, Roberts," 
were his first words on entering the house and encounter- 
ing the old butler. 

' No, sir. The nurse has come and I believe Catherine 
left her in charge." 

' Ah ! Then Catherine is at leisure. Hunt her up 
and if she is not resting ask her to come to the library." 



MASKED FACES 181 

As the old man's aged feet shuffled through the hall 
and up the stairs in fulfillment of his errand, Hamilton 
went into the library and waited. This was the only 
room on the street floor with which he ever felt on in- 
timate terms. Here he sat and read, wrote and smoked ; 
and here, before an open fire, he often dreamed an eve- 
ning away when he was too tired to do any of these things. 
The reception room adjoining it and the stately drawing- 
room upstairs with its stiff brocade furniture and crowd- 
ed bric-a-brac smacked of the artificial. But the library 
was- essentially a man's room. It had been his father's 
stronghold and it had now become his. The shelves of 
books that flanked the walls, the solid mahogany furni- 
ture, the great desk all belonged to the world of things 
he knew and loved. So, too, did the paintings which al- 
though dingy with age bore the imprint of master hands. 
The senior Hamilton had been fond of pictures good 
ones and had squandered no small portion of his in- 
come on their purchase. Gordon could recall now his 
mother's confidential touch on his arm and her whispered 
caution : 

" If you are going to that exhibition with your father, 
Gordon, don't let him buy any more pictures." 

The admonition had become a by-word in the family 
and the adherence to it a cause of regret to many a strug- 
gling artist 

This taste for art Gordon had inherited ; and although 
he never had yielded to it to the extent his father had, 
nevertheless he watched the world of creative production 
with intelligent interest and usually found time to visit 
the exhibitions of such crafts as appealed to him. The 
room in which he now sat bore ample evidence of this 
for a finely woven Indian basket held his letters; rugs 
that mirrored the Oriental's years of patient toil covered 
the floor ; there were carvings, an exquisite Japanese crys- 



182 GRANITE AND CLAY 

tal set in bronze, and bits of ivory, copper and enamel 
converted by the skill of the trained workman into objects 
choice and rare. And yet so large was the interior that 
none of these treasures forfeited their beauty or individ- 
uality. Each was given plenty of space and in suitable 
setting reigned supreme in its allotted corner. A visitor 
could not but sense on entering the room that its furnish- 
ings had been selected and put in place by one who un- 
derstood and loved them. 

As Hamilton now waited it was characteristic that he 
took out his handkerchief and flecked a particle of lint 
from the flawless sphere the dragon's bronze claw 
enclosed. 

He was, in fact, in the process of doing this when 
Catherine surprised him. 

" Ah, good evening, Catherine," said he, abashed at 
being caught dusting his possessions. 

" You're not finding dust on that crystal, are you, Mr. 
Gordon ? " complained she in an aggrieved tone. 

" No, indeed ! " was the hasty reply. " Only a speck 
of lint." 

" There couldn't be lint on it," returned she. " I did 
this room myself to-day and I always use a silk duster." 

" Oh, it's nothing," protested Gordon, " nothing at all I 
The house is like waxwork, Catherine. It is a marvel to 
me how you keep it so clean in a dirty city like this." 

" Cities are dirty," agreed the housekeeper with molli- 
fied intonation. 

Her expectant eyes were upon him and to this expect- 
ancy Gordon was not blind. Persistently, however, he 
ignored it. 

" And how is your patient ? ' he asked. 

" She is much better to-night, sir. Her mind is quite 
clear and she has been asking no end of questions." 

" What sort of questions? ' 



MASKED FACES 183 

" Oh, she wanted to know where she was, and how 
she got here. Not that I was able to enlighten her," con- 
tinued the housekeeper with significant stiffness. ' Of 
course I knew even less about it than she did." She 
paused for the words to take full effect. " At first she 
seemed to think I was evading her but when she found 
I really could not tell her anything she insisted she must 
see you as soon as you came in." 

" But isn't she too weak to talk ? Won't it be bad for 
her?" 

" She is w r eak, Mr. Gordon. Still, I think it would 
do her less harm to see you and satisfy her mind than to 
lie still and wonder until she cannot sleep." 

" Perhaps it would. Why don't you call up Doctor 
Towner and ask his opinion ? ' 

" I did call him up and he was not there. His secre- 
tary said he was out of town on a case and would not be 
in until late to-night." 

Then, I see no help for it but to decide ourselves. 
What did Miss Turner's nurse think?' 

" She feels as I do, sir." 

" Very well. Won't you tell her I will come up when- 
ever she wishes to have me ? ' 

" I will, sir. Yes." 

Left alone, Gordon rose, straightening a picture here, 
a book there. Automatically he reached for a cigarette, 
his usual remedy for nervousness, and started to light it ; 
then tossed it aside. Suppose Penelope should be indig- 
nant when she learned how high-handedly he had as- 
sumed the management of her affairs? She certainly 
had the right to demand the credentials on which he 
claimed his authority. Was there not the danger that 
in her anger she might work herself into a fever and so 
seriously aggravate her feeble condition as to retard or 
even jeopardize her progress? If so, Towner would dub 



184 GRANITE AND CLAY 

him a fool for granting the interview and precipitating 
a crisis, and he should blame himself. The whole af- 
fair, as he had many times before mentally observed, was 
awkward, d3B*ri awkward. 

' Miss Turner will see you now, sir," announced 
Catherine, breaking in upon his thoughts. 

Gordon flushed at the thrill of trepidation that passed 
over him. Doubtless it was a tremor of apprehension 
such as this that his own summons had more than once 
called forth in an embryonic author awaiting arraignment 
before him. It was an uncomfortable sensation and he 
vowed inwardly that in future he would have more sym- 
pathy for those who experienced it. 

Penelope, languid against the pillows, was propped up 
beneath the canopy of the great bed where through weary- 
years he had been accustomed to see his mother lie; and 
as he beheld the outline of the slender form over which 
the sheets stretched something caught at his throat, forc- 
ing a mist into his eyes, and prompting him to turn his 
head aside. The impulse, however, was fleeting and im- 
mediately he banished it and looked again. Yes, the pic- 
ture before him was quite a different one from that which 
imagination had for the moment so trickily conjured up. 
With hair rippling loosely over her shoulders the girl lay 
waiting, her eyes, large and luminous under their touch 
of fever, fixed expectantly on the door. A negligee of 
pale violet silk that his mother had at one time worn ac- 
centuated the purple shadows beneath her delicate skin 
and made her look pitiably fragile and ill. She regarded 
him gravely as he approached. 

" Please sit down," she said, indicating a chair the 
nurse had placed at the bedside, " I want you to tell me 
how I came to be here." 

There was. only puzzlement and mystification in the 
question and relieved that there was no resentment, Gor- 



MASKED FACES 185 

don, in a low voice, related the facts as simply as he 
could. 

" I remember fearing I might collapse," the girl mur- 
mured, when the story was done. ' Certainly you have 
been most kind, Mr. Hamilton. But why did you not 
take me to my lodgings? You had the address." 

He hesitated. 

" I was not sure," answered he gently, " who would be 
there to take care of you. City people do not always con- 
tract to nurse those who live beneath their roofs." He 
smiled lightly. 

" I suppose not," Penelope returned, apparently only 
half satisfied by the reply. " But surely you do not al- 
ways adopt the generous custom of bringing home all 
writers who faint in your office." 

" I don't remember that'any of our authors ever fainted 
there before." 

" Then the precedent is new." 

" U m yes ; perhaps it is." 

" It is an immensely kind one." She eyed him as if 
to fathom what lay beneath his words. " It has made 
a great deal of trouble for your household, I'm afraid, 
and you, too." 

: We all were glad to do what we could," Hamilton 
protested quickly. " What is a house for if not to use ? ' 

" They tell me you live here alone." 

" With my mother's old servants, yes." 

" And Mrs. McPhearson ? " 

" Eh ? Oh, Catherine, you mean ; she has been here 
almost fifty years a sort of companion, nurse, house- 
keeper for my mother. Now her duty is to look out 
for me." He tried to speak whimsically. 

" She has been very, very good." 

" She is accustomed to illness. My mother was an 
invalid a long time." 



186 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" Ah, that explains it. I felt she knew just what to 
do. How quickly one recognizes the skilled touch ! But 
I am much better now, thanks to her nursing," went on 
Penelope, " and shall not need to encroach either on your 
kindness or hers. I shall be able to go back home to 
my boarding place, I mean to-morrow and I wanted 
to ask if you would arrange to take me there." 

" But you mustn't think of going yet, Miss Turner," 
Gordon burst out. " Doctor Towner would not listen to 
it for an instant," he paused the fraction of a second and 
then added, " and neither would I." 

" But of course I can't stay on here, Mr. Hamilton." 

"Why not?" 

" Why why, for a score of reasons. In the first 
place there is not the smallest excuse in the world for me 
to remain here and tuni your house upside down. Oh, 
yes, that is precisely what I am doing/' she insisted, as he 
held up a protesting hand. ' I know the upheaval doc- 
tors and nurses cause. We are under obligations to meet 
such emergencies cheerfully when they involve our own 
kin; but no one is bound to endure their inconvenience 
for the sake of an utter stranger." 

" Do you consider yourself a stranger to me? ' 

"Yes. Don't you?" 

Under his scrutiny he saw her color. 

" I am afraid that is not entirely honest," she amended 
hurriedly. ' Of course, after what you have done you 
never again can be simply a stranger." 

" I did not mean that," the man objected. " What 
I meant was that after reading Granite and Clay you can- 
not claim to be a stranger to me." 

For the first time a light of genuine pleasure flashed 
from her eyes into his. 

" It was because of my my interest, admiration, be- 
lief in your book that I brought you here," he went on 



MASKED FACES 187 

steadily. " Your novel is going to succeed ; but there 
are certain revisions that must be made first and I am 
anxious to have you make them yourself." 

" I felt perhaps things might have to be done to it," 
she confessed. 

"If you will consent to remain here until you are a 
little stronger," continued Hamilton, without heeding the 
interruption, " and then let me get some one to help you 
make the changes the manuscript demands, I shall be very 
much gratified." 

" It is only because of the book, then," said she very 
low, as if meditating aloud. 

He waited, allowing her to think. 

Then presently she said, " Well, Mr. Hamilton, I will 
take you at your word and what I would not accept per- 
sonally, or from charity, I will accept for the sake of my 
work. It must, however, be with the agreement that I 
myself defray all expenses incident to my illness." 

With what pride she uttered the condition! One 
would have thought her a princess whose silken purse 
was crowded with gold rather than a penniless struggler 
whose pitifully worn and flat little pocketbook Hamilton 
had picked up from the floor of the taxi and slipped into 
his overcoat pocket. 

To the demand she made he nodded. 

" You may do as you like about that," he said. 

" I might not be able to meet the expenses at once," ex- 
plained she with dignity, " but I could clear the debt in 
time and - 

" But the bills are nothing," Gordon returned, unable 
to bear the shade of anxiety that had gathered in her eyes. 
" We'll turn them in to the firm and label them publish- 
ing expenses. We repair all our other machinery when 
it gets out of order. Why not you ? : 

" Am I just a machine? ' 



188 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" Authors are a very necessary part of the machinery 
of a publishing house," responded Hamilton in a matter- 
of-fact tone. " Without them the whole structure of our 
business would go down." 

" I suppose so." 

" Then why not leave it at that," pleaded he eagerly. 
" We put you back in condition to work because we need 
you and cannot do without you." 

" You really believe you are going to make enough 
on Granite and Clay to reimburse you for all this trouble 
and expense? ' was the incredulous inquiry. 

" I do not think so I know it." 

" Your faith is superb." 

" At least it is complete and sincere." 

For a moment neither of them spoke. Then the man 
asked : 

"You will stay?" 

" Yes, if you really wish it. I never can thank you, 
Mr. Hamilton. You see ' 

To cut short what he feared might follow Gordon rose. 

" I must not let you talk any longer," he observed ab- 
ruptly. " See, here comes your nurse to send me away ' 
as the white-capped attendant approached from the 
farther end of the room " and it is high time she did 
too." Then looking down at the girl beneath the canopy 
he concluded, f Remember you are in an entirely inde- 
pendent position. Whatever you wish you are to ask 
for just as if you were in your own home, and I hope 
earnestly that you will." 

The final sentence was uttered with the entreaty that 
constituted one of Hamilton's greatest charms. 
Thank you," repeated Penelope. 

Noticing her lip trembled ominously, Gordon moved 
away. 

: I shall not intrude upon you," he added, smiling 



MASKED FACES 189 

kindly. " All is, any time you wish to see me send word 
to me by Mrs. McPhearson or your nurse. I arrive 
home shortly after five every afternoon and am always 
at leisure. Good night." 

" Good night," responded Penelope. 

A second they regarded each other, seeking to penetrate 
the other's mask and determine how much each knew 
or guessed. Then the man went out, softly closing the 
door behind him. 



CHAPTER XX 
PENELOPE'S DECISION 

HAD one echo of the personal note vibrated in Ham- 
ilton's plea Penelope would have refused to remain a 
guest beneath his roof. But the man had been so grossly 
businesslike. Apparently, mused she with a cynical little 
smile, she was, in her host's estimation no better than 
paper, ink, or some other publishing commodity. Yes, 
perhaps she was a degree better, for at least if she were 
only paper she was not blank paper; she was manuscript 
and evidently Beck and Hamilton considered manuscript 
of sufficient importance to guard it from injury. How 
cold-blooded and commercial the world was! That she 
herself was living a tragedy far more vital than anything 
she had written or ever could write they did not suspect, 
and if they had they probably would not have cared. To 
them she represented nothing but money ; and just as the 
operatic manager protects the welfare of his prima donna, 
oj* the sportsman the health of his racing horse, so Mr. 
Gordon Hamilton was taking every care to see that she 
was restored to the full power of her faculties. It was 
galling, humiliating. 

Nevertheless, unflattering as it was, she could not but 
own that it was a more acceptable attitude than pity, and 
that the aid had come at a crisis, when, if compelled to 
rely on her own resources, she could no longer have held 
out. The remittance her grandfather mailed her 
monthly she had long ago discovered to be inadequate, 



PENELOPE'S DECISION 191 

and of late she had been supplementing it by addressing 
envelopes until far into the night, a tedious process and 
one bringing only small returns, but the sole work she 
could find to eke out enough so that she might be enabled 
to stay in the city and complete the work upon which she 
had set her heart. 

As she looked back over the weeks of unceasing toil 
that had now spelled success she speculated with a shud- 
der what would have become of her had Gordon Ham- 
ilton's decision been an adverse one. To a single spin 
of the dice she had entrusted her fate. If the gamble on 
which she had staked her all had proved a failure, not 
only would she have wasted her grandfather's hard- 
earned savings but she would also have shaken what 
little confidence he held in her ability and been compelled 
to return to the Cape defeated. Nobody but he had had 
the least conviction that she could write and even his 
faith was feeble and wavering. Deep in his soul she 
knew he had doubted whether she had the capacity to 
pen anything worthy of financial return. As for her 
aunts, they thought her mad and only refrained from 
telling her so because they feared their father's displeas- 
ure. On Belleport itself no restraining hand rested and 
its ignorance of what had brought her to the city had 
prevented it from jeering openly and denouncing her for 
the rainbow chaser her father had been. Ah, she knew 
where every one of the unbelievers stood! 

But in spite of all lack of encouragement, in spite of 
veiled ridicule, stubbornly she had trusted in her star; 
and behold, at last it had risen! She could scarcely 
realize it. Like a bird let loose, north, south, east and 
west was to wing the hitherto captive soul of her, flutter- 
ing to she knew not what havens. The fancy thrilled 
her imagination. How strange to picture others reading 
Jier inmost thoughts and feelings, and perhaps reechoing 



192 GRANITE AND CLAY 

them how strange and almost terrifying! It seemed 
impossible that Gordon Hamilton could read words that 
came so close to the heart of any human being and still 
look upon them simply as a bit of merchandise. And 
yet, under the circumstances, perhaps it was fortunate 
and less embarrassing that he should do so, for were they 
to approach what she had written from any other angle 
they would soon find themselves on ground so personal 
that it would be disconcerting to both. Publishers like 
Hamilton doubtless handled so many books that in the 
course of time they became blunted to their appeal and 
incapable of any spontaneous reaction to them. It was 
not to be wondered at. 

Nevertheless, notwithstanding the reasonableness of 
these arguments, there was something in Hamilton's face 
that failed to bear them out and mark him as a callous, 
unfeeling, materialistic man. She could easily stretch 
her imagination to the point of hearing him voice a kind- 
lier and less worldly motto than " Business is business." 
If, however, this surmise had any foundation it was ap- 
parent that on this occasion, at least, he did not elect to 
adopt another slogan. Business was business and that 
was all there was about it; and probably it would have 
made no difference if he had known she was actually 
starving and had not had a whole night's sleep for weeks ? 
But he did not know, thank Heaven ! Nobody knew and 
nobody ever should 'her aunts and her grandfather, 
least of all. By a happy turn of circumstance she had es- 
caped from the necessity of imparting her secret to any 
one and when her work was finished she would be able 
to return home in triumph, never confessing how close 
upon defeat had verged her victory. 

Her chief needs being rest and food, and both of these 
being supplied without stint, it was astonishing how 
speedily her strength returned. Every condition for re- 



PENELOPE'S DECISION 193 

covery was favorable. Failure had always been a dwarf- 
ing, depressing influence under which her mercurial tem- 
perament sank to its lowest ebb. But success was an 
elixir, a tonic. Perhaps it was sympathy she needed 
more than actual approval. Be that as it may, the fact 
remained that censure never urged her to the heights that 
commendation did. The only other spur that drove her 
forward was pride and whipped on by the stinging lash 
of this taunting tyrant she sometimes leaped to instant 
and, alas, illogical and ill-advised action. In the same 
ratio that praise was her good angel pride was but too 
frequently her evil genius. 

Lying there in the quiet room of Hamilton's home, 
listening to the far-away droning of the city's undercur- 
rent, it was as if she were upon another planet looking 
down on the world in which she had previously dwelt. 
What a wretched failure it had been, the lonely years 
of her childhood, and the still more companionless years 
spent in her grandfather's house. Nobody about her had 
understood, and had it not been for a love that compen- 
sated her dependent position would have been pitiable in- 
deed. And then had come Dick Morton and with him 
more failure. It seemed to have been failure, failure, 
failure from the day she was born. 

Perhaps, owned she, she had been too introspective 
and too deeply concerned with the impression she was 
making on other people. If so, that sin was now no 
more, for since coming to Boston she had been too busy 
and too tired either to pull her character to fragments or 
care what the hurrying world thought of her. In fact, 
she had awakened to the discovery that probably it did 
not think about her at all. She was only one of a million 
toilers, whose identity was lost in a city struggle for exis- 
tence. Of what use to resort to the dramatic and act a 
part for spectators who took no heed? In Belleport it 



194 GRANITE AND CLAY 

had been different ; she had not lacked an audience there, 
Here no one looked, cared, wept or applauded. She was 
just Penelope Penelope Turner a Penelope who at 
the brink of despair had been snatched from annihilation 
and crowned with success. 

Under the miracle of it this re-created being blossomed 
like a rare flower until those watching her marveled at 
her transformation. The dust of golden freckles that 
had flecked her cheeks disappeared, leaving her skin ex- 
quisite in its fairness and pink with a warm, girlish tint ; 
her eyes sparkled like stars in a shadowy pool and hope, 
raising the drooping corners of her mouth, curved them 
into a smile irresistible in its radiance. 

" Why, the child is actually pretty ! ' exclaimed Mrs. 
McPhearson in consternation to the nurse. Whatever 
has come over her ? She was the scrawniest, palest little 
thing you ever saw when she came." 

Penelope, regarding herself in the oval mirror of the 
low dressing table the first day she was up and alone in 
the room, shared their wonder. Was this the same girl 
who had lain crying in the lee of the old green dory on 
the Belleport sands? It seemed incredible. She smiled 
at her new self in the glass, laughing aloud with pleasure 
and excitement. What would Mr. Gordon Hamilton 
think when he came home ? Ever since his talk with her 
he had been in New York where he had been called on 
business incident to a printer's strike. She had not seen 
him for over a week. Before his departure he must by 
some effectual means have silenced his household, for no 
one had sought to question her or had even allowed her 
to venture anything more than the most fragmentary allu- 
sions to herself or her affairs. This, she decided, was 
probably in compliance with the doctor's orders. Even 
the physician himself, who made cheery little visits and 
chatted pleasantly whenever he came, never inquired 



PENELOPE'S DECISION 195 

about her personal concerns and even cut short any ref- 
erence to them. Had she but known it Doctor Towner 
was too proud to gain his information this way and had 
decided that if Gordon Hamilton did not choose to im- 
part to him any information about the stranger within 
his gates he did not care to receive it from other sources. 

But Penelope, in ignorance of his motive, knew only 
that to all appearances nobody entertained the slightest 
curiosity as to who she was or where she had come from ; 
and within the peace of this belief she ceased to be 
haunted further by the obligation to outline her history or 
explain to those surrounding her the riddle of her past. 
Tranquil mentally, her native charm began gradually to 
assert itself until it won to her colors not only the doctor 
and the nurse, but the half -grudging Catherine as well. 
For steel one's heart as one might Penelope, under the 
spell of happiness and with her mummeries and mas- 
querading cast aside, was a most naive, irresistible 
creature. 

' Don't you think I might dispense with a nurse 
soon ? ' she queried of Doctor Towner one day, when 
he was making his daily visit. " And can't I be getting 
back to work before long? ' 

The physician caught eagerly at the interrogation. 

"That would depend on the sort of work you want 
to do," replied he guardedly. 

" Oh, I do not aspire to go out and saw wood," smiled 
she, with tantalizing indefiniteness. 

He joined in the smile. It was the sort that com- 
pelled one to. 

" I mean nice, quiet, ladylike work," she continued. 
" Work that I could do right here." 

" Crocheting or knitting socks? ' 

She laughed. 

" Something almost as bad." 



JL96 GRANITE AND CLAY 

He watched her. During her illness she had piqued 
his interest more than he would have been willing to ad- 
mit; now that she was on the high road to health and 
her personality had begun to assert itself, his curiosity 
concerning her had doubled. It would have been so easy 
to ask a question or two and satisfy his inquisitiveness. 
But the interrogations stopped at his tongue's end, a 
blending of honor and stubbornness holding them back. 
After all, the affair was none of his. Nevertheless, he 
had been too long associated with the Hamilton family 
to be able wholly to quell a certain sense of pride in and 
responsibility for Gordon's conduct. He hoped with all 
his heart the young man was doing nothing foolish. He 
had, during his years of practice, seen much of human 
nature and had come to the somewhat pessimistic con- 
clusion that there was not a man in the world, no matter 
what his inheritance or traditions, who, if given provoca- 
tion, was beyond the possibility of making an ass of him- 
self. It was an unflattering estimate of his sex but it 
was a true one and he saw no reason why Gordon Ham- 
ilton, unblemished as was his record, should be an ex- 
ception to the general rule. The present might be his era 
of folly, that was all. 

Nevertheless, try as he would he had not, he was forced 
to admit, up to the moment discovered anything that 
pointed follyward. 

Miss Everts, the nurse, left on Friday and Saturday 
night Gordon came home. 

" Well, Roberts, how goes it ? ' he asked as the old 
butler took possession of his luggage and began to mount 
the stairs with it in his hand. 

" Nicely, sir." 

" And how is Miss Turner? ' 

" Getting on splendidly, they tell me. The nurse went 
to-day." 



PENELOPE'S DECISION 197 



You don't say so! That is fine. I suppose Miss 
[Turner has not been downstairs yet." 

" Oh, no, sir." 

" Well, it is good to be home again, Roberts," Gordon 
sighed, dismissing the subject. " New York is all well 
enough for a holiday but for steady diet I would as soon 
live in Hades." 

" I imagine so," politely acquiesced the butler whose 
knowledge of the Empire State consisted only in listen- 
ing to the periodic paeans of gratitude his master was 
wont to offer upon his return to his native city. 

Gordon strolled into the library and without opening 
the letters piled on his desk he glanced at their addresses 
with faint interest; then he looked about the quiet room, 
yawned and went slowly upstairs. 

In the upper hall Catherine met him. 
' Ah, Mr. Gordon, it is grand to see you home again ! ' 
exclaimed she. " The house is never the same with you 
out of it. And what kind of a trip did you have? I'll 
be bound you're glad to be back again." 

" Indeed I am ! " 

There's no place like Boston," announced the old 
servant with true Beacon Street enthusiasm. 

' I guess the New Yorkers would agree with you 
there ! ' ' laughed Gordon mischievously. 

Catherine tossed her head. 

" New York was always a Sodom and Gomorrah," 
she asserted solemnly. 

" And how is your patient ? ' questioned Hamilton, 
cutting short the philippic he was sure would follow. 
Catherine was more sophisticated than Roberts; some 
twenty years ago she had once been in New York. 

" Oh, Miss Turner has made great progress within the 
week, sir. You will be surprised to see her. She is up 
and about the room; the nurse has gone and Doctor 



198 GRANITE AND CLAY 

Towner doesn't think he will need to come more than a 
few times after to-morrow." 

" Splendid ! You are a magician, Catherine. I be- 
lieve you could bring the dead to life! Don't you sup- 
pose Miss Turner would be able to come downstairs to 
dinner to-night ? ' suggested he. 

"To-night? You mean right now?' 

" Yes. Why not ? " 

" Why eh I don't know ! I never thought of her 
going down. I suppose " 

" Isn't she well enough ? " 

" Why why, yes I guess she is." 

" Then won't you ask her if she would like to? ' 

The housekeeper hesitated. 

"I I can ask her of course, sir," answered she, 
" but I am afraid she won't accept." 

" You think she won't feel like it? " 

" I can't say as to that, sir. It is only that having no 
luggage with her she has nothing suitable to wear." 

" Nonsense ! Had she trunks of gowns with her I 
should not think of letting her fatigue herself by putting 
any of them on. I shall be quite alone and we all under- 
stand she has been ill. Let her come as she is." 

Catherine, bred in the proprieties, threw up her hands. 

" In a wrapper ! Oh, sir, she couldn't do that not 
in the dining room and at dinner." 

" My mother wore wrappers downstairs," declared 
Gordon sharply. 

: That was quite different, sir. And they weren't 
wrappers; they were tea gowns." 

: There's everything in a name. Well, why can't Miss 
Turner wear a tea gown ? ' 

' She has none with her, sir." 

" There must be things in the house." 

" You mean ? " 



PENELOPE'S DECISION 199 

" Certainly." 

" You'd be willing she should wear them ? : There 
was awe and wonder in the words. 

" Yes," Gordon repeated a trifle irritably. Why 
should we hoard things when they can be of use? ' 

The woman did not answer but her silence was eloquent 
with protest. 

" Well, I'll see what can be found, Mr. Gordon," she 
at last responded, turning toward the hall with evident 
reluctance. 

" Do not urge Miss Turner to come if she is tired, or 
does not care to," he called after her. 

" No, sir." 

A moment later the stillness of his chamber was broken 
by a gentle knock. 

" It is I, sir : Catherine." 

" Yes." Turning the knob, he confronted the old ser- 
vant. 

" It is just as I fancied, sir. Miss Turner asks you 
to excuse her." 

The man's face clouded. 

" She is not up to it, eh ? ' 

" Oh, it isn't that. She is perfectly able to go down 
and I even think it might do her good. It's her clothes. 
She says it is unsuitable for her to dine with you unless 
she has a proper dress." 

" That's all rot ! ' burst out Gordon with boyish peev- 
ishness. " What earthly difference does it make what 
she wears? ' There'll be nobody but me to see her, and 
I am quite used to invalids. Of course she would not 
choose to dine in one of those wrapper things. But un- 
der the circumstances isn't she being rather silly ? I shall 
just have to dine alone downstairs and she alone up. I 
call it nonsense." 

" I told her what you said." 



200 GRANITE AND CLAY 

Well, go back and tell her again. Say that I am 
asking a favor of her and that I very much hope she will 
grant it." 

" I will, sir." 

Some little interval elapsed before he again heard Cath- 
erine's knock and during the interim less because he 
wished to make a good appearance than from force of 
habit and the refreshment of putting on fresh clothing, 
he got into his dinner coat. But all the time he was 
dressing his thoughts ran on Penelope. Now that he had 
made the request to see her it was absurd 'how anxious 
he was to have it conceded. It was stupid to eat one's 
meals alone, argued he, seeking to justify to himself his 
impatience. 

Then he heard Catherine's approach, 

" Well, what luck this time ? ' he asked as he threw 
wide the door. 

' Miss Turner will come down, sir." 

" That's more like it ! Tell her I am very glad." 

" Don't you think, sir, that if she does Roberts had 
better light the fires in the dining room and the library? 
The downstairs rooms are larger, and as they do not get 
so much sun they're liable to be cooler. I shouldn't want 
her to notice a difference of temperature and get cold." 

That is a wise caution. I'll speak to him as I go 
down." 

A blaze was soon crackling on the library hearth and 
into a great leather chair before it Hamilton sank and 
began without enthusiasm to open his letters. They rep- 
resented an accumulation of social correspondence and 
consisted chiefly of appeals for charity and notes of in- 
vitation to dinners or week-end house parties. The one 
he held suspended between his fingers and which was 
written on heavy gray paper surmounted by a crest bade 
him- to Manchester for the coming Sunday. He tossed it 



PENELOPE'S DECISION 201 

across to the table at his elbow with a gesture significant 
of refusal. He had other and very different plans for the 
spring days that were now transforming Boston from a 
bleak city of sleet and east winds to a fairyland of 
flowers. Already the trees shading the Public Garden 
were feathery with green and the tulip beds beneath them 
a riot of color. Even within the iron-fenced enclosure 
before his own door the sun had lured into early bloom 
daffodils, hyacinths and spikes of Scilla blue as the May- 
time skies. The Embankment, framed in the heavy 
hangings that adorned his library windows, was at the 
very moment gay with hurrying pedestrians, emerald 
turf, and the flashing splendor of crimson-flooded wa- 
ters. No, he had no intention of leaving all this beauty 
behind him and exchanging the city either for the Berk- 
shires or the North Shore. Instead he looked forward 
to long, quiet evenings in Boston, when with Penelope 
Turner beside him at his great library desk they should 
together remodel the romance, Granite and Clay. 



CHAPTER XXI 

AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER 

HAD not Gordon Hamilton been a man long schooled 
in suppressing his emotions he undoubtedly would have 
betrayed surprise when he looked up and beheld Penelope 
standing between the portieres of the library door. So 
quiet had been her entrance that against a background of 
soft green she stood unheralded, a shy and hesitating 
figure. Catherine had discovered tucked away in a 
drawer a tea gown of softest white crepe which Gordon 
had bought for his mother on her last birthday and which 
she had never worn. Probably it would have been given 
away long ago, as had most of Mrs. Hamilton's other 
clothing, had it not been overlooked. The moment Ham- 
ilton's eye fell upon it he recognized it, and recalling the 
circumstances under which it had been purchased, a mo- 
mentary pang of sadness shot through him. And yet, 
strangely enough, to see the dress on Penelope now cre- 
ated no unpleasant sensation. Rather it seemed to make 
of her a thing apart and link her with a chain of associa- 
tions not only sacred but deeply precious. 

He gazed at her in silence and gravely she met his 
eyes; then she smiled timidly and in a twinkling became 
a very human creature who in her clinging robes brought 
with her a memory of golden sunshine, blue skies, sea, 
sand, wild roses, laughter and youth. Her hair was 
parted demurely on her forehead and coiled without a 
pretense of art at the nape of her neck, and yet no studied 
coiffure could have been in more perfect harmony with 



AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER 203 

her simple costume. The Penelope of the past would 
have scorned at such a dramatic moment to make so in- 
effective an entrance; but the new Penelope, weak from 
illness and wearied by months of combat with the very 
real things of life, had experienced something that ren- 
dered the jester's cap and bells trivial and out of tune. 

Unaffected, too, was the gesture with which the girl 
came forward to meet her host's outstretched hand. As 
Hamilton led her toward the fire and placed a chair be- 
fore the blaze, stooping as he did so to arrange the pil- 
lows with practiced skill, he was conscious of a fresh 
charm in her bearing, a new and pleasing dignity. 

" How vastly better you are looking, Miss Turner," 
he exclaimed impulsively. 

" I am better, Mr. Hamilton. In fact, thanks to your 
hospitality, I am not the same person at all." 

It was on the tip of his tongue to observe that she was 
a much more fascinating person, and had there been a 
trace of coquetry in her words he would probably have 
voiced the opinion; but the sincerity in her manner for- 
bade flattery and instead he replied with gravity : 

" You must thank your doctor and nurses for your 
improved health. I can claim no part of the cure, I am 
afraid, except to rejoice in it. You begin to look really 
fit for work." 

" I am not only fit but eager," returned Penelope. 
" When do you think we can make our start ? ' 

The pronoun rang in Gordon's ear with delightful 
camaraderie. 

" Soon. To-morrow, perhaps, if your several guar- 
dians give you permission." 

' Doctor Towner and Mrs. McPhearson, you mean ? 
I am sure they will," replied Penelope, looking brightly 
into his face. ' I am quite strong now and am anxious 
to get the book done as soon as I can." 



204 GRANITE AND CLAY 

"Why such haste?" 

" Didn't you yourself tell me you were in a hurry for 
it? Besides, I have already encroached on your kind- 
ness an unpardonably long time." 

" Nonsense ! Why, you have only been here a 
week." 

" A week in which I have contrived to turn your serene 
abode into a hospital and make everybody a lot of 
trouble." 

" I wish you would not regard your coming here in 
that light," frowned Hamilton. She saw he was gen- 
uinely annoyed. " Why can't you take it as it was of- 
fered and let the matter rest there? I should be im- 
mensely grateful if you would." 

" I'll try to," responded she meekly. 

" Then let us never refer to it again." 

The shadow in his eyes was fading but there was still 
a strain of irritation in his voice. 

" Very well. W r e won't," agreed Penelope promptly. 

He gave a sigh of relief. 

" Thank you! " said he. 

" But it is not only the book and and and being 
here," she faltered presently. ' I must be getting back 
to Belleport soon. I have had no letters from my family 
for over a week and am a little worried. Grandfather 
always writes." 

" I have sent a boy over to Pinckney Street every day 
to call for your mail," announced Gordon, * but he has 
brought back nothing. For many reasons it seemed 
wiser not to leave your present address with your land- 
lady. She might not," he stopped for a word " under- 
stand," concluded he ambiguously. ' People are so in- 
quisitive sometimes and have so little intelligence." 

The latter portion of the sentence slipped past Penel- 
ope but she caught at the former clause. 



AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER 205 

" How thoughtful of you to send every day for my 
letters ! ' ' she exclaimed. 

' I thought you ought to have them if there were any," 
Hamilton remarked. " It is never well to be entirely 
cut off from one's home. Something important might 
happen there." 

She nodded. 

' Pardon my seeming curiosity, but have you written 
to Belleport since you've been ill ? ' 

" No, I'm ashamed to confess, I haven't," the girl 
owned with contrition. You see, I felt so miserable I 
simply couldn't write myself, and I knew if any one were 
to write for me it would frighten them to death and bring 
Aunt Martha, Aunt Elizabeth and Grandfather all flying 
to Boston. It was not as if I had been in any danger. 
I was not really very sick." 

Hamilton did not enlighten her. 

" I knew I should be all right before long and so I let 
it go. But I will write now." 

" Shall you tell them " 

"That I have been sick, you mean? No. Why dis- 
tress them when it is over and done with ? ' 

"Why, indeed?" 

"If my Grandfather so much as suspected I had not 
been well," went on Penelope* swiftly, "I do believe he 
would pack up his traps and come to Boston, although 
he has not made the journey in twenty years. He 
wouldn't rest until he saw with his own eyes that I was 
all right. You don't know what a dear he is," she con- 
cluded, a tender reminiscent light in her eyes. 

Hamilton, studying her, smiled. 

" I haven't a doubt of it," he declared. " But about 
writing them and all that ? ' 

" What do you mean ? ' 

" Why eh since you are to remain here, it seems 



206 GRANITE AND CLAY 

foolish for you to retain your Pinckney Street room. 
Why not let me send for your trunk and give up your 
lodgings ? ' 

" Why but " 

; The room is only an unnecessary expense." 
' But but ' Again she saw the shade of annoy- 
ance wrinkle his forehead and hastily took warning. 
' But what should I tell them at home ? ' 
" Why tell them anything ? " 
" But my mail ? " 

' I can continue to send to Pinckney Street for it. Our 
boys are always going on errands. Or you can give the 
postoffice orders to forward it here." 
" That would be the best way." 

; Then your landlady needn't know anything about 
where you have gone. It may save gossip. Should she 
take a whim to inquire into your whereabouts it might 
be annoying." 

Penelope paused, unconvinced. 

* It seems to me the less she is mixed up in your af- 
fairs the better. For all she will know, you have gone 
home to Belleport," explained Hamilton. 

Yes, perhaps it is better," the girl at last agreed. 
Of course, there is nothing but what she is perfectly 
welcome to know," Gordon went on. " Still, I don't 
think you are bound to confide all your concerns to her." 
All her concerns ! Certainly Penelope did not wish to 
do that not under the present circumstances. It had 
long been her constant fear that the prying Mrs. Hay- 
ward would find out more than she chose to have her. 
I guess you're right, Mr. Hamilton," she conceded. 
It seems so to me. We'll keep your whereabouts 
secret, then," ihe man rejoined with evident relief. 
That will leave you free to work here in peace without 
interruptions. You can put things through in half the 





(C 



(( 
tt 



AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER 207 

time if you are let alone. A writer cannot mix up work 
and play. It is impossible.'* 

" There is no danger of my doing any playing," Penel- 
ope asserted, with a faint, smile. " You see I know no- 
body in Boston to play with." 

" So- much the better/' Gordon responded immediately. 
" When you need, recreation I'll see that you have it." 

" Dinner is served, sir," announced Roberts, appearing 
at the door. 

" Shall we go in?' 1 asked Hamilton, rising and look- 
ing down at her. 

Seating her at the other side of the gleaming mahog- 
any, he took up his napkin. It was long since he had been 
tete-a-tete with a woman at his own table. There had 
been small dinners and bachelor suppers but never since 
the death of his mother had a solitary woman's face con- 
fronted him from across the disc of polished wood. 
How fair the girl looked and how young ! And how 
she became her surroundings! The stately old interior 
seemed to borrow something of her youth and to be sud- 
denly touched with a spirit of festivity that caused the 
plate shining on the long sideboard to flash brighter, the 
candles to glow more radiantly and every sparkling ob- 
ject to catch and hold the light with unwonted brilliance; 
even Roberts, conscious of a new element in, the atmos- 
phere, moved with more elastic step and presented the 
viands he served with a rejuvenated graciousness. 

The logs burning in the big fireplace shot up into flame 
sending dancing flickers of warmth across the portraits 
of the Hamiltons ranged upon the wall. The man at the 
table met their eyes without flinching. He had no cause 
to apologize to his ancestors* either for Penelope's pres- 
ence there or for her bearing. Even critical old Grand- 
father Hamilton, who in his day had been quite a con- 
noisseur of women, could have found scant reason for 



208 GRANITE AND CLAY 

complaint against the guest who occupied the seat of 
honor beneath his picture. She might, perhaps, have 
been more perfect of feature but she was every inch a 
lady; and if she were shy her demureness, far from rank- 
ing as a defect, possessed a naivete quite as its own, 
at least, it did for old Hamilton's grandson. 

As the meal progressed it was continually in Gordon's 
thought how much pleasanter was this dinner than the 
long and dreary ones through which he was habitually 
dragged. The Hamiltons' retainers, trained to conven- 
tional standards, would as soon have omitted their pray- 
ers in the morning as the soup, salad, or coffee at night. 
Hence, evening after evening, with unwavering regular- 
ity, Roberts dispensed from the same massive Sheffield 
and Willow ware the same sequence of faultlessly pre- 
pared courses that the Hamilton traditions demanded, 
serving each as if he were administering a rite of the 
church. It was no occasion for flippancy or levity. Mr. 
Gordon might be friendly at other times but at dinner 
he was the master of the house, the last of the Ham- 
iltons, and as such he was expected to comport himself 
in silence and with the decorum befitting his station. 

Thus far he had played his role to the entire satisfac- 
tion of his dependents. But the events of the past week 
had created in them an uneasiness as to his future docil- 
ity. Was he going to branch out now, at his age, and 
adopt the casual independence of the up-coming genera- 
tion? Fervently they prayed not. If there were no 
other objection to unconventionally than its unexpected- 
ness that would have been enough to condemn it in their 
eyes. They were too old to be shaken out of their ruts 
and follow after other gods. And anyway it was not 
dignified for a Hamilton to defy custom and set at naught 
the traditions of the past. 

This woman the master had so abruptly brought home ! 



AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER 209 

This sick woman! The thing was entirely at variance 
with the code of the manor. Perhaps it was an emer- 
gency. At any rate they had all gone through with it 
as cheerfully as they could in that hope. But if Mr. 
Gordon were to establish the habit of picking up stray 
persons and conveying them home unannounced, possibly 
it might be as well to remind him politely that it never 
had l^een done. In fact, he must already be as well aware 
of that as they. Nevertheless, if he were, he betrayed 
in the present instance no sign of guilt at his transgres- 
sion; and had a spectator glanced into the dining room 
he would not have had the faintest suspicion that the 
couple who dallied in the candle light over their coffee 
were other than an ordinary sedate Beacon Street couple 
who sat there night after night in the same decorous 
fashion. The lady daintily fingered her shell-like cup 
of old Sevres and chatted and laughed, and the man light- 
ing a cigarette watched her through its haze with the 
grave satisfaction of one entirely content. 

The talk was of books and authors, a very proper and 
natural subject in Roberts' opinion, and one he had so 
often heard discussed that had he been invited to join 
in the conversation he could have done so with an in- 
telligence that might have amazed his hearers. He had 
the true Boston veneration for things of the mind. Was 
not lineage half of life and intellect the other? No, he 
had no fault to find with the topic introduced. It was 
perfectly Hamiltonian and quite up to the established 
standards of the house. Nor could one quarrel in any 
way with the deportment of Miss Turner, who, although 
he had been unable to discover her name either in the 
Blue Book or the Social Register, he was bound to admit 
must be well born, and handled her fork, napkin and 
finger-bowl quite as a lady should. Even when she rose 
from the table she did it with a grace that would have 



210 GRANITE AND CLAY 

done honor to the mistress herself. From beginning to 
end there appeared to be nothing out of the ordinary in 
the drama before him; and yet he knew that the occasion 
was not the humdrum thing it seemed and that it held 
the element of the unusual. Beneath the tranquil ex- 
terior lay something he did not understand. 

The week of Penelope's stay lengthened into ten days, 
then into a fortnight; and presently its third week be- 
gan. She was quite at home now in the old mansion and 
although the servants maintained their reservations con- 
cerning her, waiting upon her with studied courtesy, there 
was not one of them who did not find his constraint to be 
crumbling beneath the spell of her unassuming good will. 
Much of the day she spent writing at Hamilton's great 
desk in the library where he always joined her directly 
dinner was finished. From the hall one could catch the 
murmur of their voices, and not infrequently overhear 
fragments of spirited argument concerning some book 
or story they appeared to be reading together. 

" I do not agree with you," came the woman's voice. 
" No man could be with a girl constantly without her 
knowing that he loved her." 

" I differ from you," Hamilton returned with a note 
of protest in his voice. " A fellow of any will power 
is capable of putting a tremendous check on himself when 
he must. I know I believe," he amended hurriedly, 
" that a man could be with a woman every day and love 
her without her suspecting it." 

A rippling laugh came from has antagonist. 

" She must be a very stupid creature then. Well, have 
your own way. We'll let Jean remain in entire igno- 
rance that Hil forth loves her. It will make the story 



more exciting." 



1 



Perhaps so for the girl," growled Hamilton. 
For the reader, too," Penelope declared promptly. 



AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER 211 

Of course, it was only make-believe people whom they 
discussed, but nevertheless the debaters seemed to Rob- 
erts to be uncommonly in earnest about it. Evening after 
evening the psychological dialogues went on. Sometimes 
during the day the chauffeur took Miss Turner out to 
do errands, or for a drive, but more often she remained 
at work until late afternoon when Hamilton returned 
promptly from the office and they motored off together, 
or took a walk on the Avenue or Embankment. 

In the meantime shopping had resulted in an augment- 
ed wardrobe for Miss Turner, and a chic suit of brown, 
with a smart little toque that matched it, had superseded 
the shabby garments in which she had made her initial 
appearance. She also now wore at dinner a gown of soft 
green that wrought an astonishing change in her ensem- 
ble. These newer possessions the old butler was unable 
to reconcile with a small and antiquated trunk that had 
recently arrived, and a carpet-covered satchel which in 
itself demanded the respect of one trained to regard the 
antique not only with appreciation but with a certain 
measure of awe. 

Evidently she had no friends in the city for no one 
called to see her; neither did she receive any letters, a 
rather puzzling condition of affairs, one must admit, and 
one that he owned he did not altogether like the looks 
of. Still, as he rubbed his chin, he granted that a score 
of reasons might account for the circumstance, odd 
as it was. 

It certainly was apparent that whatever her status Mr. 
Hamilton held Miss Turner to be a person of importance 
and treated her with the greatest respect and from him 
the others took their cue, serving the mysterious little lady 
as if she were a visiting princess. Just when the embers 
of curiosity concerning her were beginning to die down 
and smolder what must the master do but rake them all 



212 GRANITE AND CLAY 

into a blaze again by returning from the office one day 
in company with a stenographer, after which time this 
young woman augmented the family circle, coming daily 
and waking the stillness with the incessant click of a type- 
writer that could be heard from morning until late aft- 
ernoon. 

Roberts shook his head. 

" I don't fathom it at all/' observed he despairingly to 
Catherine. 

" Nor I, Roberts," was her reply. " It is very pe- 
culiar, and if I may express my opinion, very unsuitable. 
There never was a typewriter in this house; and the li- 
brary was never before turned upside down with a clutter 
of papers. If it is business, all I can say is it belongs 
downtown; and if it isn't business, what is it? " 



CHAPTER XXII 

MORE WEBS 

ON a Sunday afternoon toward the first of June Dick 
Morton rang the Deri of the Wilmot mansion and was 
forthwith ushered into the living room. It was evident 
he had been expected for scarce a moment had elapsed 
before Margaret came tripping down the stairs. 

" I hope I'm not late," she said a trifle flurried. 

" Not a second," returned the man, taking her hand. 
" And even if you were it would make no* difference." 
He paused looking eagerly at her from head to foot and 
observing with pleasure the youthful lines of the trim 
blue suit and the fetching little toque she wore. ' I like 
your hat," he commented with the intimacy of the 
privileged. 

" Do you ? How nice ! ' ' laughed she. " Even now I 
hardly know myself in city clothes. I have worn a Red 
Cross uniform until I feel odd and conspicuous in any- 
thing else." 

" I did not think I could ever like you as well in an- 
other dress as in that uniform," went on the man. ' But 
I do." 

He saw her flush. 

" Clothes do change us, don't they? " she answered at 
random. 

1 Nothing can ever really change you," replied the 
young soldier with emphasis. 

: Dick please ! ' implored the girl. " You prom- 
ised you wouldn't." 



214 GRANITE AND CLAY 



r I know. Forgive me. But it is so infernally hard 
always to remember." 

She looked away, toying with the button of her glove; 
then said in a strained voice, ' Sometimes I question 
whether we're doing right to go on this way. Whether 
it's fair." 

1 For me to come here you mean ? Good God ! ' he 
burst out. " You wouldn't take everything away, would 
you?" 

' But I am not certain that it does any good. I can't 
see that it makes you either any happier or any more 
reasonable." 

" Yes, it does ! " 

" Besides, there's Archie." 

What do I take from him that is his? " was the fierce 
demand. 

1 Nothing, Dick nothing. How could you ? ' She 
strove to steady the catch in her voice. ' Let us talk 
no more about it/' 

' But you are annoyed with me." 

" No, I'm not. Indeed, I'm not ! See! Just to prove 
it I am going to wear the violets you sent even if you did 
transgress orders by buying them. Aren't they beau- 
tiful?' She took the flowers from a bowl of Tiffany 
glass, shook the water from their stems, and fastened 
them in her coat. 

' Do you remember the violets we picked that day near 
Neuilly, Margaret?" 

Watching her, he saw her face soften. 

' Remember ? Yes. What a day it was ! ' 

' A dream day, Peggy ! ' he whispered. 
For a moment she mused ; then broke the silence with 
forced gayety : 

' Come ! We must go or we shall be late for the pic- 
tures," exclaimed she. 



MORE WEBS 215 

He followed her into the shaded street through whose 
vista of elms the waters of the river flashed in their 
brimming basin. 

" Suppose we walk up Beacon Street. Shall we ? It 
is not far and the day is so lovely." 

" Any way you say," smiled Morton contentedly. 

" I like to go through Beacon Street," she explained^ 
turning the corner at the foot of the hill and starting 
along the broad asphalt, ' ' because of the fine old houses 
and pretty grass plots. See these jonquils! Father's 
friend, Mr. Hamilton, whom you met at our house at 
dinner a while ago, lives on this street. The house with 
the colonial doorway is his." 
Where the girl is standing? ' 

Y e s no, it can't be. Perhaps it is farther 

along." She caught her breath and a murmur of sur- 
prise escaped her. Yes, that is the house, after all, 
and there is Gordon now. Who can the girl be? ' 

' Some relative, probably," was Morton's careless 
reply. What interest had he in Hamilton or the girl 
either except to pray they did not interrupt his tete-a-tete 
with Peggy? 

" But Mr. Hamilton keeps bachelor's hall and has no 
relatives," insisted Margaret, walking on. For an in- 
terval she seemed lost in thought. 

' I cannot imagine who that girl can be," she presently 
reiterated. 

* Perhaps we shall overtake them and then you will 
have a chance to find out," retorted Dick, a hint of sharp- 
ness in the words. 

" Oh, don't let's overtake them of all things ! " she pro- 
tested. 

A short laugh came from young Morton but she did not 
heed it; her attention was centered so completely on the 
couple who loitered upon the Hamilton doorstep that it 



216 GRANITE AND CLAY 

is doubtful whether she so much as heard the triumphant 
rejoinder. Even while she watched, Gordon's limousine 
rounded the corner and she saw him help his companion 
into the waiting vehicle, after which they rolled away. 

" You have missed your opportunity to identify the 
mysterious lady," Dick announced. 

" Apparently I have," answered she slowly, trying to 
meet his banter with a smile. ' Not that I really care. 
Nevertheless, knowing Gordon as well as I do, I cannot 
but wonder who she is. It is strange for a woman to 
be coming out of the house." 

' Oh, I don't know," was Dick's indifferent answer. 
' Lots of things look strange that prove on investigation 
to be quite simple." 

' But a girl at the Hamiltons' is strange," persisted 
Margaret, stung into irritation by the note of lightness in 
his tone, " and you would think so too if you knew more 
about it." 

The words had not left her tongue, however, before 
penitence for her anger overwhelmed her and during the 
remainder of the walk she sought to make amends by 
being more than ordinarily gay and entertaining; but be- 
neath her gayety an undercurrent of speculation lingered, 
marring the whole-heartedness of her mood and causing 
Morton, ever jealous of her attention, to attach more 
importance to the incident than he might otherwise have 
done. 

Could it be possible she cared for Hamilton and re- 
sented his interest in another woman? Or did she for 
the first time suspect this friend of hers of being other 
than she had thought him, and had the discovery brought 
with it a shock ? Dick would have given much to know. 
That a strong friendship existed between the Hamiltons 
and the Wilmots he was well aware; but that anything 
more than friendliness lay concealed behind it had never 



MORE WEBS 217 

entered his mind. And yet Hamilton was an indisput- 
ably attractive man whose intimacy in the Wilmot home 
gave him such great advantages that such a thing was 
not beyond the reach of the imagination. 

Dick turned and from quite a new angle began fur- 
tively to study the girl at his side. Although she laughed 
and chattered merrily, he knew her too well not to realize 
she was making random conversation, and that while 
she made it her mind was otherwise occupied. Inwardly 
he cursed Hamilton. 

What a three-cornered game it would be if all this time 
that she was engaged to Archie Lambeth, she was in love 
with Hamilton, and was meantime toying with still an- 
other man. No ! It wasn't like her she who was the 
personification of truth and sincerity. At least, he ad- 
mitted instantly, she was not to blame for her relation to 
himself. If he had hypercritically misnamed the bond 
existing between them, calling it friendship when he well 
knew it was something widely different, she was not re- 
sponsible for that. In the choice between labeling it 
falsely or losing her altogether he had chosen the lesser 
evil and might not Hamilton have adopted his own policy 
and be masquerading in much the same fashion ? 

By the time they reached the Art Club Dick had woven 
about the incident of the afternoon a network of suspicion 
from w r hich he found himself unable to escape; and it 
was with a sensation closely akin to rage that he entered 
the gallery only to confront the man and woman who 
were the cause of his disquietude. They were standing 
at the farther end of the room before a large canvas of 
a ship under full sail, and the familiar lines of the girl's 
head and shoulders arrested and instantly held his atten- 
tion. Her face, turned toward the picture before her 
with entire absorption, he could not see, and even when 
Hamilton bent and spoke to her she appeared to be un- 



218 GRANITE AND CLAY 

conscious of his nearness. For the space of a few sec- 
onds she stood lost in admiration ; then suddenly the ten- 
sity of her interest relaxed, and as she turned he beheld 
the countenance of Penelope Turner. 

Was ever discovery more astounding! 

Penelope, of all people! And yet it was Penelope; 
there was no disputing that. Nevertheless, it was such 
a different Penelope from the defiant, outraged creature 
he had left in Belleport that he gazed at her as if doubt- 
ing the evidence of his own senses. From her pert little 
hat to the tip of her trim patent leather shoe she was quite 
another person ; nor did the cluster of orchids tucked into 
her coat do more than accentuate her strangeness. What 
had happened to work such a transformation? Then 
his eyes traveled to Hamilton and a rush of blood 
mounted to his forehead. Was this the explanation? 
He longed to seize the man by the throat and confront 
him with the query. 

Where could the two have met? And what had 
placed a girl of Penelope's background and a person of 
Hamilton's on terms of such intimacy? Fruitlessly he 
twisted and turned the evidence, seeking a solution of the 
mystery until an exclamation from Margaret brought 
him to himself. In the shock of the encounter he had 
entirely forgotten Peggy and when he now turned it was 
to find her staring at the couple at the farther end of the 
room with a consternation quite equal to his own. And 
as if their scrutiny wrought a psychic charm at the same 
moment Gordon wheeled about, started, smiled and came 
striding toward them across the crowded gallery. 

* So you were inspired to come to the show, too," said 
he, bending low over Margaret's hand and nodding a 
welcome to Morton. " It is great, isn't it only too 
much of a crush. Why they send out so many cards to 
these private views beats me. It 13 no compliment to 



MORE WEBS 219 

invite people to an exhibition so crowded that one can 
scarcely see a thing." The phrases came rapidly and 
Margaret thought she detected nervousness in his manner. 

" It is a jam," she agreed. " As for the pictures we 
have only just arrived and have not seen them yet. Are 
they good ? ' 

" More interesting than usual, it seems to me," was the 
enthusiastic reply. " Brandon is evidently painting in 
quite a different style and so is Colchester, broader and 
more significant; then there are some new men whose 
work is original. That marine on the opposite wall is 
one of the best pictures here. Come over and see it." 
Then addressing Morton he added, " If about half these 
people would clear out we could get a better view of it." 

The remark demanded no response and Dick offered 
none. 

" I have a friend with me whom I want you to meet," 
went on the speaker swiftly, turning to Margaret. Will 
you come ? 3 

She inclined her head in assent and without waiting for 
more Gordon began to elbow a passageway through the 
throng. 

Penelope was standing in the same intent pose in which 
her escort had left her and so rapt was her interest that at 
the moment the approach of strangers seemed almost an 
intrusion; nevertheless at Hamilton's voice the serious- 
ness of her gaze vanished and with quiet attention she 
faced him. 

" I wish you to meet some acquaintances of mine, Miss 
Turner," he said. " This is Miss Wilmot, a very old and 
dear friend ; and this is Mr. Morton." 

They saw her start with a little, sharp intake of breath ; 
then with instant control she answered gravely : 

" I am very glad to meet you, Miss Wilmot ; to know 
an old friend of Mr. Hamilton's is indeed a pleasure. 



220 GRANITE AND CLAY 

Mr. Morton I know already." Carelessly she extended 
her hand. : How are you, Dick ? This ship is mar- 
velous, isn't it quite like home ? ' 

The young Cape Codder gasped at the audacity of her 
indifference. Why, she had loved him once or had 
testified she did. Under the circumstances one would 
have imagined an encounter as unexpected as the present 
would at least have stirred her to a blush. But if she 
were surprised she certainly carried it off valiantly and 
the discomfited lover found himself regarding her with 
involuntary admiration. 

" I heard you were in Boston," he contrived to 
stammer. 

" Yes, I have been here since early spring," was the re- 
sponse. ' I am, however, going home very soon now. 
And how do you like being in the city, Dick ? ' 

Again her perfect ease of manner disconcerted him. 
' Immensely ! ' The time was short and curiosity 
urged him on. " Where are you stopping ? ' 

" Oh, with friends," came airily from Penelope. Then 
with a pretty gesture of graciousness she turned toward 
Margaret, explaining with winning friendliness, ' Mr. 
Morton and I used to know each other at Belleport. 
Were you ever on the Cape, Miss Wilmot ? ' 

It was charmingly done and only a brute could have 
resisted the appeal of her glance. Margaret Wilmot 
answered smile with smile. 

" No, I am sorry to say I have never visited the Cape," 
she returned. 

" That is a pity. You really should come there some- 
time. We think it is very beautiful." 

" Cape Cod is one of the very loveliest corners of God's 
earth," put in Hamilton eagerly. "If you need any one 
to endorse its glories let me add my testimony." 

" Oh, you did use to spend your vacations there, didn't 



MORE WEBS 221 

you, Gordon? " Margaret remarked, as if recalling a for- 
gotten circumstance. 

" I spend them there now, dear lady, whenever I can." 
The discovery evidently aroused in Peggy a train of 
puzzling thought of which Gordon was unconscious, for 
she scarcely listened when he reiterated : 

" Yes, there is no place on earth quite like the Cape." 
Her mind was busy mentally reconstructing those 
weeks of implied idleness and leaping forward to a pos- 
sible romance 'twixt Hamilton and the recently discov- 
ered Miss Turner. They had, then, been summer ac- 
quaintances and the bond had strengthened until the girl 
had either followed Gordon to the city of her own free 
will or he had coaxed her hither by his persuasions. In 
any case here she was and of the incident he had never 
breathed a word. In the face of their friendship it hurt, 
it could not but hurt. What more natural than some- 
time, when alone together, he should have alluded to this 
girl unless, indeed, he had a reason of his own for 
concealing the connection ? 

And while Margaret Wilmot pondered thus, nursing 
her rising reproach and resentment, Dick Morton, with 
a masculine knowledge of the world, was going to even 
greater lengths in condemning the man before him. 
Hamilton then had known Penelope in her home; seen 
how unsophisticated and inexperienced she was; played 
upon her feelings; and lured her to Boston. Nay, he 
had even ventured farther and actually taken her to his 
own residence; at least it appeared so. And in all inno- 
cence Penelope had trusted and believed in him and ac- 
cepted his attentions. It was monstrous ! 

Furthermore, unabashed by the blackness of his deed 
Hamilton had the effrontery to flaunt the victim of his 
deception before the public and jauntily present her to a 
woman of Margaret Wilmot' s standards. One would 



222 GRANITE AND CLAY 

have thought that either conscience or decency would at 
least have deterred him from adding this flagrant insult 
to the other crimes of which he \vas guilty. 

Well, the affair should go no farther he would see 
to that. Penelope's family should be fully informed as 
to her whereabouts (for that they were ignorant of the 
peril in which she stood he did not doubt) ; and once the 
Old Captain was on the scent nobody else would be 
needed to track down Mr. Gordon Hamilton and bring 
him to justice. Captain Jabez adored his granddaughter 
and he could be trusted to deal without leniency toward 
any man who sought to do her evil. 

The girl herself he did not blame. She was young, ill- 
versed in the wiles of the world, and only too easy prey 
for the designing and malicious. 

But this knave of a Hamilton was a responsible person 
who knew better than any one could tell him the precise 
direction toward which his acts were tending, and not 
another sun should go down before his perfidy should be 
exposed and Penelope's relatives be informed of her dan- 
ger. Yes, he would go to Belleport to-morrow and at 
the risk of being rated as a meddler or a jealous lover 
he would acquaint the Aliens with the miserable facts. 

He only prayed that his warning might not come too 
late. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

CAPTAIN JABEZ'S PLANS GO AWRY 

ON an afternoon in June Captain Jabez Allen sat 
meditating in solitary silence on his doorstep. 

Before him a sparkling strand, iridescent to the sand's 
moist rim, stretched awav until it melted into the fickle 

/ 

flood of the tide. It was a day when a fresh breeze, riot- 
ing with the crowding waves, edged each with a curl of 
foam and tossed into a swirling sea of emerald the coarse 
salt grass that covered the dunes and flat reaches of shore. 
Above the unresting pulse of the ocean sounded the flap- 
ping of great wings and the shrill cries of gulls as they 
battled, snowy-breasted, against the gale. 

But the Old Captain, immovable on the doorstep, cast 
not a glance toward the panorama of beauty confronting 
him. So intense was his reverie that a host and all its 
chariots might have approached and he been unconscious 
of their coming. There, alone on the steps, Captain 
Jabez was experiencing a bitterness of soul such as he 
had never before known. Until now there had never 
been a time in all his life when he had not been able to 
hold his head proudly aloft and squarely meet the gaze 
of his fellows. But to-day his glance drooped even be- 
fore the clear eye of the day. To be sure he was up to 
the present his own accuser and his guilt was known only 
to himself, but that fact made the consciousness of it 
none the less poignant. Besides, a moment would come 
nay, it was even now on the way when all Belleport 



224 GRANITE AND CLAY 

would be acquainted with what he had done and scorn 
him for it. It was unavoidable. 

Well, he deserved the blame that would be heaped on 
him. He had committed a crime and it was only right 
that he should suffer for it. And yet he had not sinned 
deliberately. His motive had been good when, influenced 
by weakness and affection, he had been led to take his 
first downward step. He had fully expected to be able 
to right everything within a few days at most. It was 
only the tiding over of an emergency. 

Penelope had been so wretchedly unhappy, poor child, 
and had taken so little interest in life that he had wel- 
comed her eager request to be allowed to go to the city. 
Of course, it was a foolish, girlish dream, this writing 
scheme of hers. He doubted seriously whether anybody, 
even the cleverest authors, made fortunes out of books. 
Certainly for a person as young and inexperienced as 
Penelope the chance of success was so slight as to be 
negligible. It was the way of youth to follow the rain- 
bow. Age was wiser. Nevertheless, he had not had the 
heart to dash into gloom the glory of the beckoning vis- 
ion. It had been long since a gleam of hope had lighted 
the eyes of Penelope. A winter away from home and 
from the monotony of Belleport might not be such a bad 
thing, after all. 

She had been the victim of a sad and humiliating ex- 
perience which had not only disappointed her hopes but 
almost exterminated her courage to go on with life at 
all. Gossip had made her its target, bandying her name 
about until who could wonder that a girl so proud as she 
should wrench rebelliously at her fetters and long to get 
away into an environment where nobody knew her and 
where she might make a fresh start? The request was 
far from unreasonable. 

And so he had overruled the protests and sinister warn- 



CAP'N JABEZ'S PLANS GO AWRY 225 

ings of Elizabeth and Martha, and taking the responsibil- 
ity upon his own shoulders, had sent Penelope off to en- 
joy her roseate dream of freedom. He had expected the 
indulgence of such a plan might make inroads on his 
slender bank account; but how great the drain would 
prove to be he was ignorant, and it was not until the 
child was finally ensconced in surroundings that seemed 
as modest as decency would permit that the knowledge 
came to him how appallingly large was the stipend de- 
manded to maintain her even in this simple fashion. 
How was it possible for the cost of living in the city to 
mount to such a figure? He gasped at the contrast be- 
tween prices in Belleport and in Boston. Why, the 
money seemed fairly to melt away! 

And yet the girl was not extravagant; he was willing 
to stake his oath on that. Of course, it was not to be 
expected that any young person who had never handled 
money would count the pennies as an elder one would. 
Had the sum been sent him to expend, undoubtedly he 
could have done better with it. But then seventy years 
of living had rolled over his head and taught him many 
lessons in finance. 

As time went on and his earnings disappeared like 
quicksands into an abyss, he asked himself whether he 
ought not to send for Penelope to come home. Could 
he afford to indulge her in such a luxury as a winter in 
the city? Was it right that he should? The psycho- 
logical effects of these questionings were astonishing for 
never did he give way to them but a letter came from 
Boston filled with girlish joy and enthusiasm and the as- 
surance that ultimate success was sure to crown her ef- 
forts. How content she seemed! Only a brute would 
have had the heart to put an end to her happiness. 
Hence he had temporized, reasoning that if all his little 
fund in the bank became exhausted, there was still in re- 



226 GRANITE AND CLAY 

serve a note of Rufus Hurd's that would soon fall due, 
which money would carry him across the shoals he was 
skimming and land him in deep water. Surely Penelope 
would be home by July. Who but a crystal gazer, as- 
trologer, or mind-reader and probably not even they 
could have foreseen that Rufus, like himself, would be- 
come involved amid a tangle of misfortunes, and while 
shingling his barn fall from the ridgepole and injure his 
spine so that an operation offered the only hope for sav- 
ing his life? If he lived and that seemed doubtful 
there would be doctors' bills and nurses' and in the mean- 
time poor Ruffie, who was one of Captain Jabez's oldest 
friends, lay fretting and wondering how he was to meet 
the payment that was fast coming due. 

One would have lacked a spark of humanity not to say, 
as did the Old Captain, " Never mind about the note just 
now, Ruffie. Let it run until you ain't a-founderin' in 
such mighty seas. It won't make no difference." 

It was a noble falsehood but it was worth it to see the 
gleam of relief that flashed up in the sick man's eyes. 
Captain Jabez, who was not habitually merciful when it 
came to business matters, felt a tingle of satisfaction pass 
over him at the sight of Ruffie's face. 

Nevertheless the pleasure of performing this altruistic 
deed did not aid him in his present dilemma. Where 
was he to turn for money to defray Penelope's city ex- 
penses now? To be sure, both Elizabeth and Martha 
had small bank accounts but as they had bitterly opposed 
the plan of the girl's going to Boston and had termed it 
nonsensical extravagance, he was too proud to borrow 
from either of them. 

Then suddenly one night, as he lay tossing sleeplessly 
on his pillow, and facing the grim fact that no alterna- 
tive remained but to summon his granddaughter prema- 
turely back to Belleport, a way of escape from his diffi- 



CAP'N JABEZ'S PLANS GO AWRY 227 

culties suddenly presented itself. It seemed so simple 
he wondered it had not occurred to him before. The 
church funds! They were in his care and lying unused 
in the county savings bank. If he borrowed them and 
paid interest on the loan certainly there could be no dis- 
honesty in that; and by and by, when Rufus Kurd got 
on his feet again and met his obligation, Captain Jabez 
would slip the church money back into the institution 
from which he had drawn it and nobody would be the 
wiser. Only once a year did the society concern itself 
about the nest-egg and that was when at the annual meet- 
ing he read a brief and stilted report of the finances and 
the congregation listened to it in bored silence. It was 
always the same a short, dry record of the three hun- 
dred dollars that Ebed Tapley had bequeathed to the or- 
ganization years before. It had never been invested and 
there it lay, a glory to the Methodist denomination and a 
weapon to brandish in the faces of their insolvent Con- 
gregational brethren. 

No, certainly no one would know or care if in his dire 
straits he used the money for this worthy purpose. If 
the winter gave back to Penelope her former hope and 
buoyancy the sum would be well spent, and if the worst 
befell and it did not, at least he had tried the remedy and 
convinced himself of its uselessness. In the meantime 
there remained the chance a wild and improbable 
chance, he granted but nevertheless the chance that 
perhaps she might make good and pay back at least a part 
of what it had cost him. 

Reasoning thus, Captain Jabez waited for the dawn 
and when morning was come and he had had his break- 
fast he harnessed up his mare and gritted his way over 
the sandy roads that wove in and out among the pines 
and fragrant bayberry to Sawyer's Falls where the county 
bank was. 



228 GRANITE AND CLAY 



' Lord on high ! You ain't a-goin' to disturb that ac- 
count now, are you?' commented Eli Drake, the as- 
tounded cashier, when Captain Jabez had imparted to 
him his errand. 

"Yes, I be," smiled the Old Captain firmly. "Til 
leave you fifty dollars, though, to remember me by." 

' But whatever are you goin' to do with two hundred 
and fifty dollars? " 

Captain Jabez coughed. 
' I've a use for it," he answered good-humoredly. 

" Investin' it somewheres else, eh ? ' 

" U m, yes." 

" Better rate of interest ? " 

The Old Captain nodded. 

Wai, I don't know's we can blame you fur that," 
drawled Eli. ' Still, we don't like havin' great chunks 
of money hauled out of here. I grant, though, that these 
are times when every penny counts, an* I ain't sayin' a 
man shouldn't do the best he can for himself. How'll 
you take it, Jabez ? ' 

' Hashed up small if convenient. 'Twill be easier to 
spend." He grinned in sickly fashion. 

" I reckon tens would be the most handy then," as- 
serted Eli. " Mighty lucky I have 'em, too. 'Tain't al- 
ways we could deliver over such a sum without knowin' 
of it beforehand. But fortunately I've got enough in 
the safe to-day to fit you out in great shape." 

He shuffled across the room to the receptacle in ques- 
tion and throwing open its iron door took from it a roll 
of bills which he proceeded to count off between a grimy 
thumb and forefinger. 

' It's a long time since we've made a big payment like 
this," announced he, loth to deliver the little fortune. 
" I don't believe we've done it in several years. The last 
time was when Lyman Bearse over Wilton way yanked 



CAP'N JABEZ'S PLANS GO AWRY 229 

out every penny of his cash to buy that automobile of 
his; and then the durn thing blew up the next week 'fore 
he'd got any good out of it. You warn't calcalatin' to 
buy an automobile, was you, Jabez ? ' 

" You bet I warn't ! " 

" An' that's where you're wise, too," Mr. Kurd de- 
clared, with a sage shake of his head. " They're treach- 
erous, noisy, smellin' things ! Likely you've got your eye 
on a mortgage." 

The Captain made no reply. 

" Well, a first mortgage ain't so bad," went on the 
cashier. " We've just put one on the Snow house, young 
Sam's place. To judge by the soundin's that wife he's 
married ain't proved much of an investment. Poor 
Sam ! He's made a nice mess of his finances, I'm afraid. 
He's a funny feller. One night he was joshin' Lemuel 
Daggert 'cause whenever Lem passed the house after dusk 
he had a lantern with him. 

" ' So you're goin' courtin' Sophie Howe, are you r 
Lem ? ' sez Sam. : 'What on earth do you carry a lan- 
tern for? I never felt no call to carry a lantern when 
I went a-courtin'. ' 

" ' Nope,' answers Lem, quicker'n a flash. You 
didn't an' look what you got.' 

" Ha, ha, that was a good one, an' no mistake. Yes, 
we've took a mortgage on Sam's property. Whenever 
we can get reliable ones we snap 'em up like chain- 
lightnin'. We figger there ain't nothin' better. Of 
course, if you've got a-holt of a good security like that 
I ain't a-goin' to discourage you; but if you ain't you 
much better leave the money here. We pay as high in- 
terest on your capital as it will fetch you anywheres else." 

Again Captain Jabez did not answer but the gesture 
with which he held out his palm for the bills was eloquent 
with decision. 



230 GRANITE AND CLAY 



You're set on havin' the money, are you? No 
changin' your mind ? ' 

" I reckon not, Eli." 

" Then take it in the Lord's name," murmured Eli 
Hurd. "If you lose it an' wish later on 'twas back here 
safe an' sound, don't blame me." 

" I ain't ccuntin' on losin' it, Eli. I've lived seventy 
odd years," was the dry retort. 

" Men older'n you be have been known to lose money," 
returned Hurd. 

" There's no vaccinating against idiocy like there is 
against smallpox," called Captain Jabez over his 
shoulder. 

But Eli Hurd did not reply. Already he was busy 
locking his cash box up in the safe and making an entry 
of the mammoth transaction on his ledger. His lower 
lip was drawn in and his tusklike teeth set rigidly upon 
it as if the magnitude of the deal he had just pulled off 
had upset him to no small extent. 

Therefore without further comment the Old Captain 
went out, clambered into his wagon, and drove off down 
the State Road. A weight had been removed from his 
mind and he even ventured to hum in a semi-conscious, 
rumbling voice the opening bars of Jerusalem the 
Golden ", his favorite hymn. Once at home he sent off 
to Penelope a check to meet her monthly expenses and 
thereafter at regular intervals he proceeded to dole out 
to her an allowance that not only seemed to him ample 
but magnificent. The first hundred dollars melted 
away in no time, and the second dwindled with like ra- 
pidity; and still the girl made no mention of her work 
being finished or set a date for her return home. Anx- 
iously Captain Jabez began on the last fifty dollars of 
his little fortune; and it was at this juncture that a 
terrible blow descended upon him; bringing him face 



CAP'N JABEZ'S PLANS GO AWRY 231 

to face with the pitiless reality of what he had 
done. 

For some time past, although no consciousness of guilt 
actually discomfited him, he had not felt the desire to 
mingle at gatherings of the church any more than was 
necessary. Questions might be asked, he argued, and 
awkward situations arise. It was as well to remain at 
home. Therefore when the evening for the meeting of 
the standing committee of the organization arrived, he 
pleaded rheumatism and did not go. Such meetings sel- 
dom amounted to more than voting to restore a broken 
window catch or purchase another gallon of kerosene for 
the lamps lighting the vestry. But unfortunately for 
Captain Jabez this particular meeting did not prove to be 
so uneventful as the majority of its predecessors had 
been. 

Mr. Richard Galbraith, a resident of New York who 
came to the Cape summers, swept the community off its 
feet by writing and offering to redecorate the interior of 
the church and put in stained-glass windows if the so- 
ciety would paint the outside of the edifice. The Meth- 
odists caught at the bargain with avidity. It was won- 
derful, unbelievable, too good to be true. The chairman 
of the committee read and reread the communication 
aloud to make sure beyond all dispute that there was no 
mistake about it. Yes, there were the terms in black 
and white; and if Mr. Galbraith made them they knew 
he would fulfill them to the letter, for he was that sort. 
Instantly the same question leaped to the lips of every 
person present. How could the Tapley bequest be better 
expended than to meet this alluring suggestion? The 
money in the bank would just about cover the expenses 
of such an enterprise, and when it was spent it would not 
only have gone to freshen up and preserve the exterior 
of the edifice but in reality fit the whole building out with 



232 GRANITE AND CLAY 

a sumptuousness that never could have been afforded 
otherwise. Galbraith was rich and he never did things 
by halves. 

Hence at the recommendation of the committee the 
matter was placed before the church members and it was 
unanimously voted to get a painter and start the work 
immediately that it might be finished before summer. At 
the same time a note of grateful acceptance was dis- 
patched to Mr. Richard Galbraith at his New York 
residence. 

With such speed was the affair dispatched that Cap- 
tain Jabez, nursing his rheumatism at home and watched 
over by his two anxious daughters, had no knowledge of 
the epoch-making event until Elisha Baker came ambling 
into the yard the next morning to inquire for his health 
and impart the astonishing tidings. 

Wai, wal, Jabez ! We missed you last night at 
meetin'," began he, seating himself in the high-backed 
kitchen rocker. 

" I warn't up to comin', Lish." 

'Twas a pity. Such doinV was never heard of. 
We've voted to paint the church! What do you say to 
that?" 

Wal, I'll say it needs it bad enough," came dryly from 
the Old Captain. 

That's right. So it does. The shingles are fairly 
rottin' for a coat of paint." 

Yes, seems to me it's got to where it's a question of 
preservin* the buildin' an* no mistake. But 'twill cost 
money. How was the parish calcalatin' to raise the 
funds. I s'pose likely the women are plannin' to sponge 
it out of the summer boarders with a fair or somethin'." 
This was the method commonly employed when finan- 
cial tides rose and engulfed the denizens of the town. 
" The women ? Nothin' ! 'Tain't the women that's 



CAP'N JABEZ'S PLANS GO AWRY 233 

goin' to do it this time at least not directly. It's a 



man ! ' 



' Bless my soul ! You don't say so ! ' Captain 
Jabez's jaw dropped with amazement. f An' who is that 
philanthropic ? ' 

" Ebed Tapley." 

" But but Ebed's dead ! ' gasped Captain Jabez. 

' Course he's dead. But ain't there a sayin' in the 
Bible somewheres that the works of a good man shall 
follow him ? " 

" What you gettin' at, Lish? " 

; We're goin' to take Ebed's money," announced 
Elisha. We voted last night to do it appropriated 
three hundred dollars to paint the whole durn thing from 
weathervane to cellar, two good coats of the best paint 
to be got." 

Beneath the tan that seventy continuous years of salt 
and sunshine had burnt deeper and deeper into the Old 
Captain's skin he paled. 

" When you goin' to do it? " 

' Now right away ! Bearse is goin' to Hyannis to- 
morrow to hunt up some men an' within a month we cal- 
late the deed will be done. In the meantime Galbraith, 
the feller who bought that place out on the Point, you 
know, is goin' to get busy on the inside. There'll be 
somethin' doin' then, you bet yer. Folks say he's sendin' 
down some people from his home town to look over the 
place. Ain't goin' to let none of the village folks handle 
the job, it appears. I'm kinder sorry, 'cause it's goin' 
to stir up feelin'. Still it can't be helped an' beggars 
can't be choosers. Most likely this Tiffany chap who's 
comin' is Galbraith's regular painter an' knowin' him 
he'll most likely do it cheaper. Galbraith has prob'ly had 
some experience here an* it's soured him on havin' our 
men; there's no denyin' we do tuck it onto strangers. 



234 GRANITE AND CLAY 

Sometimes I think it's kinder a mistake to go in strong's 
we do. Mebbe Galbraith's sorter up on his ear with bein' 
soaked, an' has decided to cut out Belleport people an' 
try these Tiffany folks that he knows about. You can't 
really blame him. You'd do it yourself, I'll bet. I know 
I would. Anyhow, it ain't good taste for us to grum- 
ble. You can't look a gift horse in the mouth." 

Having delivered himself of this philosophy, which 
Captain Jabez granted to be quite logical, Elisha inquired 
further about the Old Captain's rheumatism, exchanged 
a few bits of sparkling gossip with Martha and Elizabeth, 
and took his departure. 

Captain Jabez watched him go but did not rise to ac- 
company him to the door. He felt too weak and sick. 
He was ruined -a ruined man! And not only ruined 
but disgraced! The bill for the painting of the church 
would come and he would not be able to meet it, and then 
everybody would be asking where the money left in his 
charge had gone. Not the slightest hope of replacing 
it before it was needed existed. Rufus Hurd was still 
too ill to be appealed to and was not in a position to raise 
the sum he owed even were he to be asked for it. You 
couldn't pester a man on the brink of the grave about 
money, anyway. No, there was no alternative. Cap- 
tain Jabez had in a twinkling dropped from the honest, 
God-fearing class of citizens, among which he had always 
been numbered, to that of the criminal. He was an 
embezzler! 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE ANGEL OF DELIVERANCE 

OVERWHELMED by the horror of his predicament Cap- 
tain Jabez sat on his doorstep until the waves creeping 
in from the sea had submerged the outer bar and cov- 
ered with seething currents of jade the reach of white 
sands before him. He had thought and thought and 
could think no longer, and still no plan of escape from 
his dilemma had formulated itself in his mind. Twist 
and turn events as he would, they invariably narrowed 
into the same hopeless circle which had at its center the 
wretched consciousness that he had sinned and that the 
consequences of that sin were before him. There was 
no way out of his entanglement none. Whatsoever a 
man sowcth, that shall he also reap. 

Ah, how many times he had preached from that relent- 
less text! He could even now recall applying it to a 
hungry, roving lad who had filched from the village store 
two loaves of bread and a tin of beef. It was a petty 
theft but the town fathers, smug in their own integrity, 
had clamored loudly that the offender be brought to jus- 
tice and he had clamored along with the rest. In fact, it 
was he who had lifted up his voice stronger than any of 
the others and urged on the more reluctant and merciful 
with the slogan, " Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall 
he also reap." 

His eloquence had turned the tide against the wrong- 
doer who had as a result been held up as a public exam- 



236 GRANITE AND CLAY 

pie and compelled to suffer the full penalty of his crime. 
No one had been better pleased to witness his humiliation 
than the Old Captain who with stern Puritanism re- 
joiced that God was not mocked and that lie who trans- 
gressed the laws of righteousness must bear the conse- 
quences thereof. 

That the unlucky boy he had tracked down and deliv- 
ered over to his judges might have had as worthy an ex- 
cuse for his misdeed as he himself now had, never before 
had occurred to him and together with other thoughts 
born too late to be more than embryonic impulses it now 
passed before him in retrospect, leaving him saddened 
and miserable. 

No, he could not recall ever having in the past preached 
mercy. He had regarded the doctrine as a weak-kneed, 
cowardly one, fit only for women. A man with an ounce 
of manhood in him would stand boldly by whatever he 
did and not whine for pity; that was his creed. How, 
therefore, never having extended mercy, could he hope 
to receive it? There was no mercy for him either on 
earth or in heaven. The God he worshiped was an in- 
exorable diety who meted out a just return for the sins 
of humanity. " Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he 
also reap." Such a gospel had never seemed unfair, and 
having long ago accepted it at its face value Captain Jabez 
had stretched it until it had served him as the excuse for 
many a transaction which otherwise might have plagued 
his conscience. Translated into the vernacular, you got 
in this world the consequences of what you did. If you 
were thoughtless, careless, over-trustful, why, so much 
the worse for you, that was all ; he who was not shrewd 
enough to look after his own interests must expect to be 
worsted and not complain when he found himself with 
the small end of a bargain. 

The watchword had proved a delightfully elastic, reas- 



THE ANGEL OF DELIVERANCE 237 

suring one to live by. Up to the present, however, the 
small end had never fallen to the Old Captain's lot, and 
when like a boomerang his philosophy now suddenly 
came back upon him the reverse viewpoint it furnished 
offered novel material for reverie. Corinthians had 
never been a favorite book of his but he conceded there 
might be some truth in that charity chapter, after all. 

" Though I speak with the tongues of men and of an- 
gels * * * " mechanically he repeated the sentences, each 
one taking on as he did so a new significance. It was 
the great gospel of mercy, a gospel he had been wont to 
sneer at as spineless, and proudly boast he had no need 
for. Now suddenly, with humility, he reached out to it. 
The little corners he had cut, the clever bargains he had 
driven, the pound of flesh he had invariably extracted, 
when etched against this background of supreme love, 
stood vividly forth in all their sordidness, crudity, and 
selfishness. The leaky punt he had palmed off on the un- 
suspecting Ephraim Wise ; the cracked pitcher he had sold 
at an exorbitant price to Martin Eldridge did not appear 
such scintillatingly brilliant feats after all. Nor did it 
seem such a triumph to have trapped and delivered over 
to his jailers that hungry boy whose eyes had dumbly 
pleaded for another chance. 

If the universe were to be thus relentlessly conducted, 
what hope was there for sinners like himself ? For with 
bowed head Captain Jabez contritely acknowledged he 
was a sinner and needed mercy. Unless this kindlier 
spirit swayed his judges not only was there no forgive- 
ness for him in this world but it would be useless for him 
ever to aspire to enter into that eternal city whose maker 
and ruler is God. Meekly he rose, the pride gone out of 
him, and walking across to where the ocean restlessly 
lapped the sands, he stood looking out on the heaving 
immensity of the sea. How infinite was its vast, tenant- 



238 GRANITE AND CLAY 

less reach of space, and how frail and insignificant he was 
beside it ! So it was with God. Man of himself had no 
claim to righteousness; only as he mirrored the Divine, 
in whose image he was created, was he holy. 

A step sounded behind him and he turned to find Eliza- 
beth at his elbow. 

" Tea is ready, Pa," she said. " You better come right 
in. And here's a letter for you from Penelope." She 
held out the envelope. The Old Captain took it with 
trembling fingers. 

Penelope! She would have to know of his disgrace 
she who had looked up to him with such respect and af- 
fection. For the moment he had forgotten that. The 
thought was like pouring acid into an open wound. He 
held the letter in his hand, reluctant to open it. Prob- 
ably it was another of those artless, prattling notes of hers 
asking for more money. He had not sent her any for 
some little time now and no doubt she was needing it. 
What could he answer? Instead of granting her request 
he would have to put an end to her dreams; confide to 
her the bitter truth; and summon her home. Then she 
would accuse herself of being the author of his misfor- 
tune and all his sacrifices would have been in vain. 

' Ain't you goin' to open it, Pa ? ' piped Elizabeth's 
querulous voice. 

Its intonation of curiosity broke in with jarring dis- 
cord upon his reverie and sensing that delay was futile he 
mechanically tore the seal of the envelope and unfolded 
the crisp sheet of paper it contained, holding it at long 
reach from his eyes. 

' Lor, Pa ! You'd oughter have some new glasses," 
fretted Elizabeth, who, peering over his shoulder, was 
herself unable to decipher the writing. 

There ain't nothin' the matter with my glasses," was 
the retort. " My arms ain't long enough, that's all." 



THE ANGEL OF DELIVERANCE 239 

The old man stretched the paper from him. There 
were only a few lines scrawled upon it but they were 
redolent with joy and triumph: 

DEAR GRANDFATHER: 

The book is done at last, or very nearly so, and I am 
sending you the enclosed check which is a part of the 
sum I have just received from my publishers as an ad- 
vance royalty. The rest of the money I am keeping to 
buy some necessary clothes and defray a few extra ex- 
penses. 

My dearest love goes to you. 

As ever, 

PENELOPE. 

The letter contained neither date nor address, but in 
the reaction that surged over him Captain Jabez took no 
note of these omissions. All he sensed was a great throb- 
bing consciousness of deliverance intermingled with rev- 
erent thankfulness. He took the mystic bit of paper and 
turned it between his fingers with awe and wonder. It 
was God-given, a tangible answer to his prayers. The 
check was for five hundred dollars and bore the signature 
of Gordon Hamilton. 

" Well," inquired Elizabeth, peering over his shoulder, 
" what's she got to say this time? Ain't you goin' to let 
me read it ? ' 

The Old Deacon extended the letter and its miraculous 
enclosure but no words came; he could not have spoken 
at that moment had his life depended on it. 

" She ain't sent money ! ' his daughter gasped. 

" Yes." 

" My soul ! Wherever did she get it? " 

" From her book." 

" You mean to tell me she got that for stuff she's 
written?" 



240 GRANITE AND CLAY 

He nodded feebly. 

" But five hundred dollars ! It's a fortune ! It can't 
be." 

" That's what she says." 

Eagerly Elizabeth devoured the letter. 

" What's an advance royalty ? ' ' she demanded. 

" I dunno." 

" Do you s'pose the check is good ? ' 

" Why not? She wouldn't 'a' sent it if it hadn't been." 

" But five hundred dollars, Pa ! An' she must 'a' had 
more, too, for she says right here she's keepin' part of it 
to use. Why, I never heard of such a thing in all my 
born days! She couldn't have written a story that was 
worth all that money." 

" That's what she says." 

" Well, I never would 'a! dreampt it that's all I can 
say. Penelope, of all people! Certainly I never heard 
her say anything at home I'd have given five hundred dol- 
lars to hear. Lord almighty, Pa ! Don't it beat all ? ' 

Captain Jabez had now caught his breath, and brought 
back to earth by his daughter's familiar jargon, was in 
more normal mood. 

' It does seem kinder unbelievable," admitted he 
slowly. " Still, Penelope always was a smart little mite." 

" But to write something worth five hundred dollars ! ' 
reiterated the still incredulous Elizabeth. ' I can't for 
the life of me make it seem real." 

" Nor I ! " the Old Captain agreed. 

He was not thinking any more of Elizabeth or her chat- 
ter. Instead his mind had leaped forward to the mor- 
row and what he was going to do when a new day came. 
It was too late now to drive to Sawyer's Falls and reach 
the county bank before closing hours ; but with the rising 
of another sun he would set forth and he would not rest 
until he had put back into the hands of Elisha Hurd the 



THE ANGEL OF DELIVERANCE 241 

money he had drawn out of the institution. Then, and 
not until then, would his soul be at peace and he be able 
fearlessly to meet the eyes of his fellows. 

How he wished the day of his emancipation would 
dawn! 

Well, it would come. Just as surely as he had per- 
ceived the angel of retribution approaching, so he now 
saw the shining angel of deliverance. Before the passing 
of another twenty-four hours he would be free free! 



CHAPTER XXV 

FREEDOM AND ITS PRICE 

WHEN Captain Jabez awoke the following morning it 
was with a feeling that during the night twenty, thirty, 
fifty years had slipped from his shoulders. Like the 
criminal who faces execution and whose doom is averted 
by an eleventh-hour pardon, so with grateful heart he 
once more breathed the sweet consciousness of freedom. 
Never before had such a liberation been his. Thus, 
mused he, must Isaac have felt when his cords were loos- 
ened and the fagots heaped for his destruction scattered 
to the winds of heaven; so, too, the Children of Israel 
when the great barrier of the Red Sea rolled back its 
estranging waters, offering them an escape from their 
pursuers. 

Again he could look up into the clear sky and bless his 
God for a new day. It came to him as he dressed that 
he would give much to live over the past and place a re- 
lease similar to his own within the power of that lad on 
whom he had so long ago pronounced sentence. Alas, it 
was now too late to remedy that error. Goodness only 
knew where the boy was, or whether the chastisement 
meted out to him had set his feet in the path of righteous- 
ness or broken his spirit until he had never afterward 
had the courage to look the universe in the face. Pun- 
ishment was apt to work one way or. the other. 

He, himself, for example, had he been disgraced in the 
eyes of his neighbors, could never have borne their con- 



FREEDOM AND ITS PRICE 243 

tempt and patronage. Rather he would have sought out 
some spot where no familiar countenance confronted him 
constantly to remind him by its silent reproach of the* 
misstep he had made. Fortunately, however, all chance 
of such a fate had been removed. His secret was his 
own and unless he chose to divulge it, no one in the wide 
world would ever be the wiser regarding what he had 
done. 

As he dashed cold water over his face and plastered 
down his thin gray locks before the mirror hanging above 
the small, three-cornered washstand, in sheer gratitude 
of spirit he grumbled out a tuneless bass to* " The Spa- 
cious Firmament on High ", marking the rhythm with 
his foot while he sang. Ah, it was indeed a spacious 
firmament that stretched before his vision that June 
morning! As far as eye could see it spread, a mighty 
larkspur dome that arched a sea azure as itself. How 
cloudless its expanse of blue; how gay the spangled wa- 
ters flashing far away to the horizon ! The whole world 
was a radiant harmony of joy and he himself a part of 
its universal rejoicing. 

In this exalted mood he went downstairs; but there 
he found an atmosphere in wide contrast to his own 
ecstasy. Martha and Elizabeth had evidently awakened 
only to take up with fresh zeal their argument about 
Penelope precisely where they had laid it down the eve- 
ning before. As he opened the kitchen door he could 
hear them disputing and speculating with, an obvious lack 
of conviction as to how the girl happened to be so clever 
all of a sudden. They used the word happen, as if her 
success was nothing more than a matter of chance, a 
stroke of good luck that carried with it no actual merit. 
They even went so far as to insinuate that there might 
be some mistake about the news she had sent and declared 
that should her roseate tidings prove to be without foun- 



244 GRANITE AND CLAY 

dation it would cause neither of them surprise. It hardly 
seemed likely that a person such as she could have at- 
tained at a bound this pinnacle unassisted. 

Jealous for his favorite's fame, their attitude of skepti- 
cism ruffled the Old Captain. 

" But there's the check," protested he, breaking ir- 
ritably into the conversation before either of his daugh- 
ters was aware of his presence. ' If the check don't bear 
out Penelope's assertion, I don't know what will." 

" Yes, Pa, of course there's the check," Elizabeth con- 
ceded grudgingly. " For the minute I'd forgotten that. 
It certainly does seem to back up what the child says. 
Still, how's there any knowin' it's good? You ain't tried 
to cash it yet." 

She was rewarded by seeing a startled expression leap 
into Captain Jabez's eyes. 

"An' even if it is all right," she went on, "there's 
somethin' queer, in my opinion, about the whole thing. 
Whoever heard of a man pay in' five hundred dollars an' 
more for a story just made up out of a person's head? 
'Tain't as if there was a mite of truth in it." 

" How much do yotl know, pray tell us, 'Liza, about 
what printers pay for books?' her father demanded, 
lashed into ill temper. 

Elizabeth, habitually wont to offer airy statements for 
which she had but scant foundation, faltered. 

" Well," hedged she, " of course I ain't ever written 
a book myself. But I have read enough of 'em so'st to 
be some judge. To my mind it's safe enough to say that 
fifty dollars, or a hundred at the outside, is all the best 
of 'em is worth. Why, 'most anybody would undertake 
to write a book for that price. I would myself," she con- 
cluded gravely. 

" I'll bet you'd have a time disposin' of it," interrupted 
the practical Martha. 



FREEDOM AND ITS PRICE 245 

" I don't reckon I would/* was the complacent reply. 
" Didn't I write a paper on the Landin' of the Pilgrims 
once for the Grange that lots of folks down at the church 
said had oughter be printed? Writin' ain't any great 
stunt if you've got the time to do it. Likely up in Bos- 
ton Penelope ain't had a soul to speak to an' nothin' to do 
but write an' write. She'd be a poor sort if she couldn't 
do a book under conditions such as those -'specially if 
they let her just make it all up." 

" Likely you'd go so far as to say Penelope's inherited 
what literary talent she's got from you," sniffed Captain 
Jabez with a mirthless laugh. 

" Lor, Pa ! Why will you be so foolish as to pay at- 
tention to Eliza? " Martha asked. " She don't know any 
more about books than you or I." 

With injured dignity Elizabeth looked up from the 
corn-cake she was buttering. 

' Maybe readin' books don't give a body a claim to 
knowin' about 'em," she returned sarcastically. " I can't 
say as to that. Still, I don't see as it's out of place, since 
we're on the subject, to affirm that I've done a sight of 
readin' in my day. I'll bet there ain't one of them 
Godey's Magazines in the attic that I ain't been through 
from cover to cover not to mention ' Pilgrim's Prog- 
ress ', ' The Children of the Abbey ', ' Pickwick Papers ', 
an' an' the Bible." She came to a sudden stop, her 
literary catalogue exhausted. 

Without deigning to reply to the argument, the Old 
Captain pushed his chair back from the breakfast 
table. 

" I'm goin' over to Sawyer's Falls ! ' announced he, 
addressing his elder daughter quite as if the younger one 
did not exist. " Want anything ? ' 

"We're needin' butter, Pa." 

"Butter? But you had butter last week." 



246 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" It's about gone." 

" Gone ! Two pounds ! What in heaven's name do 
you do with so much butter, I'd like to know? Grease 
the under side of every wave that roils up on the beach? ' 
blustered the Captain. " Why, you could butter all Belle- 
port with the butter we use in this house. I'll bet there 
ain't another family in this town that uses the butter 
we do." 

Martha paid no attention to the tirade but began to 
scrape up the dishes. 

" How'd you come to use up such a quantity ? ' her 

father demanded, after waiting an interval for her to 

put up a defense and finding she did not intend to do so. 

We always use two pounds of butter a week," was 

the placid response. 

" But two pounds ! ' fumed Captain Jabez. 

She watched him while, like a fire, his wrath flickered 
up, blazed, died down, and subsided into muttering em- 
bers. In the meantime, undisturbed, she had collected 
the food and carried it into the pantry, grouped the 
glasses and silver on the shelf near the dishpan, and 
methodically piled up the plates and saucers. The 
process was systematically done and her speed and 
deftness appealed to the Old Captain who had absently 
been following her motions while he fidgeted apologeti- 
cally with the sugar-bowl cover. He respected Martha. 
She never allowed herself to be bullied or brow- 
beaten. 

" Well," he at length capitulated, as he always did if 
one had the patience to wait, " an' what else do you want 
besides butter ? ' 

" I'll get the list," she replied serenely. " There are 
quite a few things starch, prunes, vanilla, cookin' 
crackers, an' let me see " checking the items off on her 
fingers, she paused. 



FREEDOM AND ITS PRICE 247 

* Good Lord ! " 

" It does take quite a lot of food to keep a family from 
going hungry," observed she pleasantly. 

" I should say it did ! ' 

"If you'd rather have me I can get the things at the 
village store." 

The suggestion worked like magic. Captain Jabez had 
not rather, and Martha knew it. When money was to 
be spent he always preferred to be the one to spend it. 
If you left it to the women, they were certain to see some- 
thing else they wanted when they reached the base of 
supplies and lengthen out the original list. No, he would 
do the buying himself. Therefore, he took the paper his 
daughter handed him without more grumbling and, tuck- 
ing it into his vest pocket, before it could be augmented 
by further codicils, he stalked into the hall and reached 
for his hat. 

He was not now in as ecstatic a mood as he had been 
when in the early dawn he had hummed " The Spacious 
Firmament on High"; nevertheless the prospect of his 
errand did much to soothe his ruffled spirits and mentally 
he resolved to add half a dozen bananas, or perhaps a 
third of a dozen, to Martha's order as a pleasant sur- 
prise for her. After all, she was a good girl and meant 
to be thrifty. He liked to make her a little present now 
and then. 

He had, however, no more than hitched up his mare 
and climbed into the front seat of his wagon, than with 
no inconsiderable annoyance he espied Dick Morton turn- 
ing in at the gate. Morton, of all people! What was 
he doing here at this hour of the morning, delaying Cap- 
tain Jabez's trip to the bank? It was most unfortunate. 
Ordinarily the Captain would have welcomed such an 
innovation for visitors were few in this out-of-the-way 
village; furthermore, he cherished a latent curiosity con- 



248 GRANITE AND CLAY 

cerning Dick and his affairs and would have enjoyed the 
chance to gratify it. But to-day he had bigger business 
on hand than to loiter and talk with any one, be he the 
prince of gossips. Nevertheless, there was no escaping 
his guest. Besides, there was a resolute directness in the 
young man's manner of approach that was ominous with 
purpose. Either he was the bearer of tidings or he was 
bent on an errand, and neither of these claims Captain 
Jabez dared deny. 

Instantly his thoughts flew to Penelope. Could any- 
thing be wrong with her? Could it be that she and her 
former lover had been meeting in Boston and, adjusting 
their differences, had they gathered up the threads of their 
lost romance and pieced them together? Almost any- 
thing was possible and more perturbed than he would 
have been willing to confess, the Old Captain swung him- 
self from his wagon seat and hastened to meet the 
intruder. 

' How are you, Dick?' he called, when the younger 
man was within hailing distance. " Down from the 
city, eh?" 

Yes, I came down last night." 

" You don't say ! Takin' a vacation ? ' 
' No," was the grave reply. " I came on business." 

" Oh, business." With the relief the explanation af- 
forded, the Captain lapsed from anxiety into humor. 

Tryin' to sell some of your bonds in Belleport ? ' he 
inquired facetiously. 

No answering smile, however, greeted the jest. 

1 I'm not here on the firm's business, Mr. Allen," re^ 
turned the boy. " I'm on my own this time or rather 
yours. How long is it since you have heard from 
Penelope ? ' 

Instantly the suspicions the elder man had lulled to rest 
rose in clamoring chorus. 



FREEDOM AND ITS PRICE 249 



' Penelope? Why, I had a letter from her only yes- 
terday." 

" Where was she?' 

" On Pinckney Street, same's she's been all along. 
Why?" 

Unconsciously Captain Jabez edged forward until his 
hand rested on his visitor's arm. 

" She didn't send you any other address ? ' 

" No. What are you drivin' at, Dick? Out with it." 

" Penelope isn't at Pinckney Street, Mr. Allen, and she 
hasn't been there for over a month," 

" What makes you think so? ' 

" Because I telephoned there and her landlady told me. 
She said Penelope went out one morning and never came 
back again." 

He saw the countenance opposite him pale; but the 
next moment the old man was smiling tranquilly. 

" Well, there can't be nothin' the matter 'cause the let- 
ter came last night." 

Ignoring the comment Dick went on : 

" The landlady told me she had no idea where Penel- 
ope had gone. She said about a. week ago an express- 
man came and took away her trunk; then a gentleman 
came, paid the rent and gave up the room. That is all 
the woman knew about it." 

: Well ? ' demanded Captain Jabez, waiting expect- 
antly. 

" Doesn't it seem a little strange? ' Dick ventured. 

" Her bein' gone somewheres else, you mean ? Well, 
mebbe it does," admitted the Captain. ' Still, there can't 
be nothin' wrong because the letter came all right. Likely 
Penelope didn't take to the woman she was boardin' with, 
that was all, an' decided to move. Of course, it was 
sorter queer of her not to mention it to me ; but no doubt 
she was afraid it might worry us was we to know she 



250 GRANITE AND CLAY 

hadn't been comfortable an' contented where she was/' 

" Then it doesn't appear mysterious to you ? ' 

" Mysterious ? " 

" Yes. You don't see anything odd about her stealing 
off and giving no address ? ' 

" Not if Penelope'd had trouble with the woman an' 
didn't like her." 

" But the man w r ho paid her room rent ? ' young Mor- 
ton persisted. 

" Come, Dick, what are you aimin' at? " burst out Cap- 
tain Jabez impatiently. ' If you've got anything to say 
to me why don't you say it instead of levelin' back-handed 
blows at Penelope? I tell you the thing is natural 
enough. She ain't hidin' nothin'. I'll bet you a penny 
her address is on the letter I have in my pocket this 
minute." 

Nervously he searched for the missive and drew it 
forth \vith trembling hand; then from another pocket he 
produced his spectacles. 

" Now we'll settle this," announced he w r ith a trium- 
phant air. " Unless the child has some reason of her 
own for concealin' where she is, it'll be on this paper." 

" Yes, unless sh-e has some reason of her own for con- 
cealin' where she is" repeated Dick significantly. 

The Captain nodded, the sinister significance of the 
phrase lost on him. 

What reason could she have, do you think, for hid- 
ing herself?' Dick presently asked, his gaze riveted on 
Captain Jabez. 

" Why, the one I told you, most likely not wantin* 
to fuss me," returned the Old Captain lightly as he un- 
folded the letter and glanced at its contents. After he 
had done so he did not speak immediately. 

" Well ? " 

" The note was scrawled in a hurry," Jabez Allen said 



FREEDOM AND ITS PRICE 251 

slowly. " There don't seem to be no address on it." 

A bitter smile curled young Morton's lip. 

" Penelope did not forget that address, Mr. Allen," 
announced he with solemn emphasis. " She omitted it 
intentionally." 

' Why should she? " inquired the puzzled Old Captain 
with the innocence of a child. 

* Because she did not want you or any one else to know 
where she was," retorted Dick. " But I know," he went 
on with swiftly mounting scorn. { I know where she is 
staying. She is at the house of a rich Boston man who 
has influenced her into deceiving you and covering up her 
tracks." 

You don't mean ' the dazed expression of the 
Captain deepened slowly into understanding, then into 
horror. " You liar ! ' he shouted. " You infernal 
liar ! " 

" I am no liar, Mr. Allen," declared Dick Morton sadly. 
" I only wish in this case that I were. What I am tell- 
ing you is the wretched truth. Penelope is at a house on 
Beacon Street. You must not blame her, poor girl. No 
doubt she was perfectly innocent of evil when she went 
there. How was she to know the ways of a city rascal 
like this brute of a .' 

" My God ! I'll kill him for it I'll kill him ! " broke 
forth Captain Jabez, clinching his fists with passion. 
" What's the villain's name? You know it, Dick? Tell 
me what it is." 

" The man at whose house Penelope is staying is named 
Hamilton," answered Dick, not a little alarmed at the 
fires he had ignited. 

" Not Gordon Hamilton? " 

" Yes. You know him then." Dick evinced surprise. 

But there was no answer. All the disbelief of Martha 
and Elizabeth, all their insinuating comment was reecho- 



252 GRANITE AND CLAY 

ing through the mind of Captain Jabez. As if he had 
received his death blow, he began to shred into tiny pieces 
a slip of green paper enclosed between the sheets of Penel- 
ope's letter. 

" It's true! " he moaned beneath his breath, scattering 
the fragments despairingly at his feet " My God, it's 
true! " 



CHAPTER XXVI 

A CLEW TO THE MYSTERY 

TEN o'clock saw Captain Jabez Allen bound from 
home on a very different errand from that which he had 
anticipated when he had arisen from his bed and so lust- 
ily hummed The Spacious Firmament on High." 

' I can't think what could have whiffled Pa round from 
goin' to Sawyer's Falls to postin' off to Boston," said 
Elizabeth for the hundredth time. " An hour ago he 
was all for buyin' butter, an' prunes, an' starch ; then out 
of a clear sky in he comes, hustles into his Sunday clothes, 
an' says he's goin' to Boston. What on earth do you 
make of it, Martha?" 

' I'm sure I don't know," was the weary answer. 

' But Pa ain't been to Boston in years not in a quar- 
ter of a century, far's I can remember. What can have 
took him there so sudden now ? ' 
" I've no idea." 

' Don't you think it's queer? ' 
Yes," came reluctantly from the truthful Martha, 

' Of course you do! " rejoined Elizabeth with triumph. 
You wouldn't be human if you didn't. Didn't he tell 
you nothin' of what he was goin' to do drop no hint 
at all?" 

' I didn't ask any questions." 

* Bless my soul, Martha ! There's times when you're 
the most exasperatin' person on the face of the earth, if 
you are my sister. You never asked Pa a thing? Just 



254 GRANITE AND CLAY 

took it as if kitin' off to the city was an everyday hap- 
penin'? For pity's sakes, why not? 1 

" Pa warn't in no mood to be pestered ; 'twas easy 
enough to see that." 

"S'pose he warn't? I'd have asked him just the 
same." 

" I know you would," nodded Martha, with a faint 
smile. 

" Well, why shouldn't I ? ' piped Elizabeth, instantly 
on the defensive at something the tone implied. 

" Oh, I don't know, Eliza," sighed Martha. " Don't 
let's argue." 

" But ain't you upset about Pa? ' 

"N o." 

" You are too, Martha Allen," the inquisitor burst out 
on seeing her sister flinch before the question. You 
are upset. You're awful upset." 

She waited for a moment for a denial of her accusa- 
tion but none came and the fact that her random thrust 
was not parried frightened her. 

" You ain't imaginin' there's really anything the mat 
ter, are you, Martha ? ' she asked breathlessly. 

" What could be the matter? " 

" I don't know," replied Elizabeth, with a helpless 
whimper. " Something may have happened to Penelope, 
You don't s'pose it has, do you ? ! 

" How can I tell, Eliza? " Martha demanded, hounded 
into peevishness. " I don't know any more about it than 
you do." 

"Honest?" 

" Certainly I don't." 

Mollified by the words Elizabeth allowed herself to 
settle back into the rocking-chair. 

So Pa didn't tell you no more this time than he told 
announced she with jealous satisfaction. 



" 



A CLEW TO THE MYSTERY 255 

There was no response. 

' I wonder what sort of a mess Penelope's got into," 
ruminated Elizabeth aloud. 

What makes you think she's in a mess? ' 
' Oh, because I can't see any other reason for Pa 
rushin' off to Boston like as if the devil was at his heels. 
He got up fully intendin' to go to the bank an' cash that 
check. I know Pa. He was itchin' to find out if it was 
good. Then quicker'n greased lightnin' round he veers 
like a weathercock an' starts for town. Somethin' come 
over him 'twixt the time he went to hitch up the horse an* 
the time he come in. What was it ? ' 

' Oh, Eliza, you drive me crazy with your questions ! 
How do I know what whisked Pa round ? ' 

; Well, all I can say is it's very, very strange," an- 
nounced Elizabeth with dignity. 

"Thinkin' it's strange won't get you nowhere," was 
the tart retort. " You've a thousand things to do an' in 
my opinion you much better start doin' 'em than to be 
settin' round here askin' profitless questions. Didn't Pa 
ask you to feed the hens ? ' 

" I ain't forgot the hens, Martha. You needn't gw 
proddin' me on. I guess I can be trusted to carry out 
Pa's requests well as you can." 

" You don't seem to be carryin' 'em out." 

" That's because I ain't got ready to yet." 

Nevertheless it was apparent that the reminder spurred 
the delinquent to action, for she arose and put on her sun- 
bonnet. 

" The meal is in the barn in the first bin," called Martha 
in a conciliatory tone, as her sister went out. She de- 
tested wrangling and was always the first to make over- 
tures for peace. 

But Elizabeth deigned no reply. Instead she went out, 
closing the screen door behind her with a spirited bang. 



256 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" Now she'll grump an' gloom all day," sighed Martha 
aloud, as she stretched the ironing board across two 
kitchen chairs. ' I wish to goodness I hadn't spoken as 
I did. I'd oughter remembered how touchy she is. But 
the way she harps on anything she gets ahold of to harp 
on, sets every nerve in my body on edge." 

Nevertheless it was characteristic of Martha that not- 
withstanding her nerves were strained to the utmost and 
that a secret and more intelligent anxiety than her sister's 
clouded her eyes, she worked off this tension not in idle 
chatter but by directing it into the grooves of the daily 
routine. She ironed her father's shirt with extraor- 
dinary vigor and did not permit the speculations with 
which her mind was occupied to interfere with her turn- 
ing back the cuffs precisely on the blue line so that but- 
tons and buttonholes made exact connections. Yet all 
the while the hot iron moved rhythmically back and forth 
across the cloth she was murmuring to herself : 

"Penelope! Of course it's Penelope! Somethin's 
the matter an' Pa, knowin' we were dead set against the 
child goin' to Boston from the beginning ain't for tellin' 
us 'til he has to. He hates to be twitted, an' there'd be 
no stoppin' Eliza's / told you so. What can the girl have 
done now ? ' 

A score of fears battled in the elder woman's mind. 
Scant as was her acquaintance with the pitfalls of a city 
she was sufficiently well informed mentally to construct 
myriad horrors that might have engulfed a creature 
young and innocent as her niece. 

" We'd never oughter listened to Pa an' let her go," she 
declared with a vicious sweep of the iron. There's 
times when Pa ain't as knowin' as he thinks he is, an' 
this was one. I wish I'd stood right up an' faced him 
instead of lettin' Penelope wheedle down my better judg- 
ment. Now goodness only knows what's to pay! He 



A CLEW TO THE MYSTERY 257 

either got some word in that letter an' didn't show it to 
us; or he suspected somethin'. 'Twas one or the other. 
He certainly didn't get no message by telephone or we'd 
have known." 

Shaking her head with a baffled air, she took up the 
steaming shirt and spread it on the clotheshorse and after- 
ward reached into the basket for another. No matter 
what befell, Pa would need clean shirts. 

In the meantime Elizabeth had reached the barn and 
having secured a wooden measure had betaken herself to 
the meal chest. She had not, however, accomplished this 
introductory portion of her mission without delay, for 
she had been distracted by a string of passing coal barges 
and had stopped to watch while the crew of the tug tow- 
ing them slowed up to tighten the hawser connecting the 
first boat. She had loitered, too, until the scarlet chain 
Was once again in motion and steaming off toward 
Nantucket Shoals; then reproachfully she had caught 
herself up and hurried without further delay into the 
barn. 

She went swiftly to the bin and hurriedly scooped up 
a measureful of its contents. The task completed, she 
closed the cover with a force so emphatic that it whirled 
a cloud of powdered grain into the air and made her 



sneeze. 

(C 



I always did abominate hens," gasped she, when the 
fifth sneeze had subsided and she had wiped her eyes. 

Her antagonism did not, however, prevent her from 
at last carrying the food into the yard and scattering it 
among the clucking assembly that greedily clustered about 
her feet. 

She was part way across the lawn and nearing the 
house before she noticed that the empty quart measure 
was still in her hand. 

"Well, look at me now!' was her sharp ejaculation. 



258 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" If I ain't cartin' this thing back to the house ! Drat 
them hens ! ' 

Of course there was nothing for her but to wheel about 
once more and return through the hot sun to the barn. 
Elizabeth was exasperated. 

Them infernal hens have put back my whole morn- 
in'," complained she indignantly. ' I always told Pa 
they warn't worth their keep. Why he will have 'em I 
can't see." 

Had not her recent sneezing paroxysm served as a 
warning, she would have angrily thumped down the meas- 
ure as a vent to her irritation; as it was she was forced 
to content herself with placing it gently on the top of the 
nearest bin and going speedily out. She had been ab- 
sent from the house an appallingly long time, and she 
knew Martha would be wondering why she did not re- 
turn to help with the ironing. Some allusion to her dila- 
tory habits was sure to welcome her when she did get 
back and the thought caused her to quicken her steps. 

It was just when she reached the center of the clam- 
shell driveway that she discovered the fragments of 
greenish paper on the ground. She might not have no- 
ticed them had not the crushed shell looked so glaringly 
white in the vivid sunshine and the mosaic of paper so 
green by contrast. At any rate there they lay, and as she 
idly glanced at them they took on a vaguely familiar as- 
pect. She had seen something of that identical color re- 
cently. Her father had held it in his hand ; she had held 
it. It was the check, the check from Penelope! She 
stopped and gathered the scraps together, placing them 
on her flattened palm. Yes, it was the check, the check ! 
Either by mistake or deliberately her father had de- 
stroyed it 

Had the question concerned any one else she would 
have advanced the former theory. But she had lived 



A CLEW TO THE MYSTERY 259 

with the Old Captain too long to accuse him of such wan- 
ton carelessness. No, the check had been deliberately 
torn to bits and scattered to the winds of heaven; he had 
done the deed for some purpose of his own and it was 
this mysterious purpose that had so abruptly taken him 
to Boston. 

Ah, she had something to tell Martha now Martha 
who always received her stories with withering disbelief 
and scorn. Bursting with her tidings, she raced across 
the grass. 

" Martha ! ' she called, the instant she was inside the 
door. " Martha ! It warn't Penelope that took Pa to 
Boston after all. 'Twas the check. There was some- 
thing wrong with it. See ! He's tore it all up." 

With a crash Martha set the flatiron down on the ring 
of metal at her elbow. 

"What?" 

" Pa tore that check Penelope sent him all to flinders," 
repeated* Elizabeth. " Look ! Here's the pieces. I 
found 'em in the driveway." 

Without a word Martha reached for the shreds of 
green paper. Try as she would to steady herself, her 
hand trembled noticeably. 

" How do you s'pose he come to do it? " interrogated 
Elizabeth, all excitement. 

" I don't know." 

Martha had turned away with the bits of paper 
clutched tightly in her fingers. 

" What are you goin' to do with 'em? " her sister de- 
manded, planting herself in her path. " You don't mean 
to burn 'em ! ' 

" No." 

" Well, what are you goin' to do? ' 

" Put 'em away." 

"What for?" 



260 GRANITE AND CLAY 

' So'st they won't tempt nobody," was the terse reply. 
' Mebbe 'twould be as well. I hadn't thought of that. 
If anybody was to find 'em they could piece 'em together, 
couldn't they ? 'Twas lucky I found 'em, warn't it ? ' 
Yes, very lucky." 

A look of suppressed anxiety had come into Martha's 
face. 

What on earth could 'a' led Pa of all people to tear 
up money ? ' 

" I don't know." 

Had not Elizabeth been so busy hanging up her sun- 
bonnet she would have seen that the eyes of the elder 
woman had widened into a frightened stare. 

1 Mebbe Pa was mad when he found something \vrong 
with the check an' posted right off to Boston to get a 
good one," she suddenly announced, as if inspired by a 
brilliant solution of the enigma. That would be just 
like Pa." 

Fussily she began to shift about the rolls of dampened 
clothes lying in the basket. Elizabeth never took the 
pieces as they came but always selected the ones she pre- 
ferred to iron and left the rest to Martha. Anxious to 
avoid any comment on her delay in returning to help, she 
went hastily to work and welcoming the fact that her 
interrogating tongue was at last silent Martha went on 
with the ironing. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

SIDELIGHTS 

CAPTAIN JABEZ in the meantime was traveling with 
squared jaw resolutely toward Boston in a stuffy car that 
was all the stuffier because he had been bred up amid an 
immensity of pure air. The trip seemed interminable. 
Under the best of conditions it probably would have been 
long to one who traveled seldom; but to-day when every 
hour, every moment of delay was menacing with dan- 
ger, he raged inwardly at his helplessness to hurry mat- 
ters. The train fairly crawled. Now it stopped to 
change engines, now to switch on other cars ; still farther 
up the line it slowed down and stood puffing on a siding 
until the express from the tip of the Cape rumbled up 
and annexed its two shabby cars to the main train. In the 
interim brakemen ambled along the track, chatting and 
joking together, and the conductor went into a nearby 
bakery where he partook of coffee, doughnuts, a piece 
of apple pie and afterward got weighed. Nobody ap- 
peared to care in the least whether Captain Jabez ever 
reached Boston or not; and when at length the engine 
did saunter into the South Station his nerves had reached 
the breaking point. 

Clutched tightly in his hand he carried a crumpled 
scrap of paper on which was scrawled the address Dick 
Morton had given him ; but how he was to find his 1 way 
to the house indicated he had no idea. So far as he was 
able to ascertain Beacon Street was a realm cut off from 
the rest of the world. No street cars went there, no 



262 GRANITE AND CLAY 

busses; nor could any of the pedestrians of whom he in- 
quired give him more explicit information than that it 
was somewhere near the Common, the Public Garden and 
the Esplanade. As Captain Jabez was ignorant of the 
exact location of any of these places, and in fact had 
never heard of one of them the instructions offered did 
him no good. 

At last, after stopping some dozen rushing individuals 
and receiving from each different advice, he came to the 
conclusion that it was useless to inquire of anybody else 
and set out to walk. Accordingly he elbowed his way up 
Summer Street, dodging the whirl of traffic as best he 
could and becoming more panic-stricken at every step. 
Sooner or later he would be slaughtered in cold blood, 
he knew he should; such a fate was inevitable. The 
drays, the cabs, the tooting automobiles, the surging 
crowds confused and terrified him. Once he jostled 
from the curb a man who, after wheeling on him and 
swearing roundly, audibly remarked to his companion: 

" Some old Rube from the country ! ' 

And once, when he lost courage to obey the beckoning 
hand of the policeman stationed at the crossing, the officer 
called sharply: 

" Come on ! Come on there ! You can't stand teeter- 
ing on the edge of the sidewalk all day blocking the 
traffic." 

Obedient to authority Captain Jabez had come on, but 
it was with the conviction that he was casting himself 
beneath a Juggernaut that would pass along leaving him 
mangled and lifeless in its wake. He even paused after 
reaching the other side of the street because his trembling 
knees refused for the moment to bear him on. 

At last, however, he found the Common and the Public 
Garden. Ah, here were areas of safety! He stood still 
within their security and mopped his dripping brow. 



SIDELIGHTS 263 

The Esplanade could not now be far away. On he wan- 
dered in his search for it until he reached the Cambridge 
side of the Basin, where exhausted he breathlessly sat 
down on a bench. It was almost noon and he was hot, 
tired, and hungry. His Sunday boots, habitually ex- 
changed during the week for more roomy and pliable 
sneakers, pinched his feet. It seemed as if he could never 
drag himself a step farther. Nevertheless the quiet of 
the spot refreshed him, and the breeze sweeping the 
water soon stimulated his courage. He pulled himself 
erect and stood gazing uncertainly about. Beacon Street 
must be close at hand. He would inquire once more 
to be certain that he did not stray out of his way and 
then he would go on. Already he was impatient to- be 
on his errand. 

Yet notwithstanding the fact that he waited for quite 
an interval no one passed. The sun mounted higher, 
sending down scorching noontide rays; the gulls careened 
in air or dipped to feed at the margin of the channel ; but 
save for their presence not a soul invaded his solitude. 
In the distance, to be sure, where the road and bridge 
met, a chaos of traffic was visible but it was far away 
and he lacked the energy to reach it, nor did the motor- 
cars that now and again shot past before he could bring 
any of them to a halt afford him aid. 

It was just when hope had sunk to its lowest ebb that 
he heard a sharp report behind him and turning, saw an 
automobile with a small green cross at the front slacken 
its speed and come to a stop. It contained two persons : 
a wiry, colored man in gray livery who drove the car, 
and a powerfully built individual with smooth face, iron- 
gray hair, and keen blue eyes that looked out from be- 
hind a pair of shell-rimmed spectacles. A humorous 
half-smile curved the big man's lips. 

" Well," called he to his companion, who had leaped 



264 GRANITE AND CLAY 

to the ground the instant the motor was still, " which one 
is it this time, Emmons ? ' 

The back, left-hand one, Doctor. I'll have it on in 
a second though, sir. Too bad to hold you up. Were 
you in a terrible rush this morning? ' 

' No more than usual," grinned the doctor. " I never 
have time to waste, you know that. Fortunately, how- 
ever, it is not my day at the hospital. Just get us along 
as soon as you can." 

" Indeed I will, sir." 

Captain Jabez saw his opportunity. Timidly he ap- 
proached. 

' Could you tell me the way to Beacon Street? " asked 
he of the owner of the car. 

' Beacon Street ? It is over across the Basin." The 
man pointed to a line of sun-flooded houses. 

' But I've just come from over there," exclaimed the 
Old Captain in dismay. " They told me Beacon Street 
was near the Esplanade." 

1 So it is. This entire embankment circling the Basin 
is the Esplanade." 

"Oh!" 

" I take it you are a visitor to Boston." 

" Yes, sir. I don't get to the city very often. I came 
up from the Cape to-day to see my granddaughter who 
is is stayin' on Beacon Street. Mebbe you could 
tell me how to get to this number." The captain held 
out his grimy slip of paper. 

The doctor took it, glanced down, then raised his eyes 
with surprise. 

1 Miss Turner is your granddaughter? ' 

" Penelope ? Yes/' Captain Jabez was almost too as- 
tonished to speak. " Do you ' 

' I am on my way to see her now." 

"She ain't sick?" 



SIDELIGHTS 265 

" Oh, no. I just keep an eye on her so she won't be," 
smiled Doctor Towner reassuringly. " I'll take you 
along if you like." 

For the fraction of a second Captain Jabez hesitated. 

" With you, do you mean ? ' 

' Certainly. There is plenty of room." 

You want I should ride alongside of you in that 
thing?" 

The physician laughed. 

"Just that." 

" I s'pose I might," ventured the Cape Codder at 
length. " I ain't never set foot in one of the durn things, 
an' here in the city it seems kinder like takin' my life in 
my hands. Still, I'm- terrible anxious to get to Beacon 
Street an' I reckon if I ain't killed in the goin' this would 
fetch me there quicker'n most anything else." 

" I reckon so too." 

The Captain stroked his chin as if considering; then 
with gingerly deliberation he climbed into the car and 
seated himself beside the doctor. 

' How'd you come to know Penelope, anyhow ? ' he 
asked, a remnant of wonder still furrowing his forehead. 
' Oh, I have been looking out for Miss Turner for 
some time." 

" Lookin' out for her? " 

The doctor nodded. 

" Watching over her so she won't overdo. Of course, 
she is much better now. Still she is an ambitious little 
thing and ' 

' She ain't been sick ! ' 

' Didn't you know? ' Instantly the physician saw he 
had made a misstep but it was too late to retrieve it. 
' No." The old man's face hardened. 
' Perhaps Miss Turner thought it better not to alarm 
you," Doctor Towner suggested kindly. 



266 GRANITE AND CLAY 

"Alarm me? She ain't been that ill?' came from 
his companion in an awe-stricken voice. 

" She has been pretty sick," admitted the doctor. 
" But you have nothing to worry about now. She is 
quite herself again." 

I Do you mean she was in danger of dyin' ? ' 
" I was anxious about her at one time, yes." 

" Why warn't I told ? ' ' burst from the indignant Cap- 
tain Jabez. 

" Mr. Hamilton was to let you know. I thought he 
had done so." 

" Hamilton, Gordon Hamilton ! ' 

" Yes." 

" He didn't tell me anything." 

" Ah ! " 

" What had he to do with it, anyway? " demanded the 
irate questioner. 

"Mr. Hamilton?" 

" Yes." 

" Why, it was he who brought Miss Turner to Beacon 
Street. That is where he lives. I fancied he might be 
an old friend." 

I 1 never heard of him before in all my life." 
Yet you seemed familiar with his name." 

The Captain bit his lip. 

What I mean to say is that although I've heard his 
name, I don't know nothin' of the man." 
' But your granddaughter does." 
There was no reply. 

What was the matter with Penelope? " Captain Jabez 
suddenly inquired. 

' It was a peculiar case," replied the physician eva- 
sively. " A sort of collapse." 

" Collapse ? An* what should set Penelope to col- 
lapsin' ? " 



SIDELIGHTS 267 

Doctor Towner answered slowly, choosing his words. 

" Miss Turner seemed tired, exhausted." 

" You ain't tellin' me the truth, sir or if you are, 
you're tellin' me only part of it," announced the Old 
Captain with disconcerting directness. " I want to- know 
the whole thing. I've got to know. It's important I 
should." 

The imperative note in the final clause was not to be 
disregarded. 

Doctor Towner temporized. Evidently quite by ac- 
cident he had stirred up a hornet's nest. He wished with 
all his heart he had never encountered this cantankerous 
old gentleman. But there was no putting Captain Jabez 
off. 

" I'm askin' you what was the matter with my grand- 
daughter? " persisted he tensely. " I've a right to know, 
ain't I ? " 

For the first time the physician's assurance appeared 
to desert him. 

" Of course, of course ! J he foundered. " I see no 
reason why there should be any secret about it. Miss 
Turner was run down." 

" From workin' too much? ' 

" Partly that, yes." 

"An' what else?" 

' She didn't seem to have had quite the proper nourish- 
ment." 

" What do you mean by that? ' 

" Why, that she either had not eaten the right kind 
of food, or had not eaten a sufficient amount of it," 
hedged the doctor. 

But it would have taken a cleverer person than Doctor 
Herbert Towner to escape such a resolute and pitiless 
cross-examiner. 

" Which do you think it was? " 



268 GRANITE AND CLAY 



' I cannot say." 

' Still, you likely have an opinion." 
1 1 rather feel, since you press the matter, that she had 
not had enough," was the reluctant confession. 

"Not enough to eat?" 

" It seemed so to me." 

Uneasily the doctor fidgeted with his glove. Would 
the new tire never be adjusted and an escape from his 
questioner afforded? 

' In other words you think my granddaughter was sick 
because she was hungry," announced the fisherman 
baldly. 

' I thought that, yes. Still, she never hinted so." 

" She wouldn't be apt to." 

A moment later the doctor thought he heard from the 
man at his elbow a muttered : 

" My God ! " 

' An' this Hamilton it's Gordon Hamilton, you 
say ? ' went on the insistent voice. 

" Yes." 
Where did he come in? ' 

" I don't know." 

' But you know where you first run afoul of him," 
insisted Captain Jabez sharply. 

'Oh, the Hamiltons have been patients of mine for 
years." 

" Nice folks ? " 

At any other moment the doctor would have laughed 
to hear the blue blood and social prestige of the House 
of Hamilton so vulgarly and casually assailed. 

Why, man alive," he ejaculated, " the Hamiltons are 
one of Boston's first families." 

That may be," was the imperturbable retort. " Still, 
it don't tell me nothin' about their characters." 

" There are no finer people anywhere." 



SIDELIGHTS 269 

"Oh, there ain't, eh?" 

A strained silence followed. 

: Who's in the family?' inquired Captain Jabez 
presently. 

" Just Mr. Hamilton." 

" He ain't got no folks ? " 
' Both his father and mother are dead." 
' How old a chap might he be ? ' 

" Between forty and fifty." 

Once more the captain gave a significant " Oh ! ' fol- 
lowing it with the words: 
' He ain't young, then." 

That is as you look at it." 

1 So this Hamilton lives by himself on Beacon Street," 
Captain Jabez remarked presently, as if following some 
other mental clew. 

" Well, hardly by himself," cut in the doctor. " He 
has a housekeeper, a butler and a retinue of old servants 
to keep him company." 

"Oh!" 

It was evident this information caused another revolu- 
tion in the fisherman's mind for he paused as if to re- 
construct certain of his preconceived ideas. 

' An' where was it you first sighted my granddaugh- 
ter ?" he at length demanded. 

' Mr. Hamilton's housekeeper or one of the other ser- 
vants telephoned me. He had just brought her home." 

' She was sick when he brought her ? ' 

For a second time the opinions the Captain held re- 
ceived an obvious jolt. 

" Yes, very sick." 

" Because because of the reason you said ? ' It 
seemed impossible for the old man to put the ignominious 
facts into plainer words. 

Doctor Towner nodded. 



270 GRANITE AND CLAY 



" Do you figger Hamilton knew what was the matter 
with her?" ' 

" He must have known. If not, he got the truth from 
me," announced the doctor with satisfaction. 

"What did he say?" 

" Practically nothing." 

" He warn't surprised then? ' 

" He did not appear to be." 

" You take it that he knew all along." 

" I imagine he did, yes. Anyway, I was determined 
he should realize the conditions. If he had overworked 
and underpaid a woman, I felt he should see the results," 
burst out the physician with spirit. 

" But he warn't employin' my granddaughter, man ! ' 

"Oh!" 

What made you think he was? ' 
I don't know," was the slow answer. " I rather 
leaped at the conclusion, I fancy. It seemed the only 
explanation." 

" Explanation of what ? ' 

" Why, of his bringing her home, hiring a nurse, and 
trying to put her on her feet again. I thought he was 
squaring things with his conscience. It would be like his 
New Englandism." 

" So that was your theory, eh ? ' Captain Jabez 
stroked his chin. 

" One of them." 

For a tense instant the Old Captain turned and looked 
the other man piercingly in the eye. 

" It's to find out Mr. Gordon Hamilton's precise rea- 
son for doin' what he's done that I've come to Boston," 
observed he quietly. 



" 
" 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

FACE TO FACE 

THEY drove along the river's rim without speaking, 
each man welcoming an interval for thought. At any 
other time Captain Jabez would have been all excitement 
over his first adventure at motoring. But in the present 
instance a terrible calm possessed him. Had it promoted 
the speed of his journey, he would have ascended into an 
aeroplane or descended into a submarine with equal cal- 
lousness. How he got to Penelope did not matter so 
long as he got there quickly. 

Amid a blur of sensations among which predominated 
a Spartan resignation to whatever fate befell he whirled 
along, vaguely conscious as he went of a rush of air; a 
confusion of moving things ; and rows of buildings that 
flashed past and disappeared before he could normally 
visualize them. The car was crossing Harvard Bridge 
now and with the water far below on each side he had 
the feeling that he was flying through space to the crash- 
ing of worlds and the uproar of crying humanity. What 
a din and rumble rose from the jarring boards over which 
he rattled ! Even when the automobile veered into Bea- 
con Street and rolled along the narrow channel of road 
shut in between lines of houses there was still the same 
babel of sound, the same inferno of speeding vehicles. 
At intervals men and women loitering on the curb would 
plunge into the seething maelstrom and the Old Captain 
would close his eyes in horror, not daring to witness the 
results of their foolhardiness. 



272 GRANITE AND CLAY 

It was in the heart of a hell like this that Penelope had 
been living! What wonder she was ill, poor girl! The 
fisherman's face hardened and unconsciously he clinched 
his fist with hatred toward the merciless city that had so 
cruelly treated his child. Not only had the accursed 
demon robbed her of her health, starving her to the bor- 
ders of destruction, but it had perhaps filched from her 
her good name and left her to lie a battered and tarnished 
thing amid the cast-off filth of its gutters. A cruel Circe, 
a great city ! An enchantress without a soul, who lured, 
dazzled, and then pitilessly laughed at that which she 
destroyed. If once he got his granddaughter from out 
the monster's malevolent clutch never again would he al- 
low it to get hold upon her. 

" I have been thinking," observed Doctor Towner, sud- 
denly bringing the dreamer's bitter reveries to an end, 
" that perhaps I won't stop to see Miss Turner to-day, 
after all. It is getting late and I have other important 
calls to make. Some future time will do as well. That 
will leave her free to visit with you without interruption." 

" But you've come way round here now." 

" That does not matter. I was glad to do it Be- 
sides, I have a patient nearby." 

" You're sure Penelope ain't needin' you? ' 

" Oh, no ! She's all right. I just like to make sure 
of it now and then, that is all. You see, I have become 
very fond of the little lady." 

At the friendliness of the tone Captain Jabez's coun- 
tenance softened; but its faint smile was dispelled a sec- 
ond later by the additional words: 

" Mr. Hamilton is not taking any chances with her 
health." 

The next moment the car had glided with velvet 
smoothness up to the curb and stopped before an impos- 
ing colonial mansion. 



FACE TO FACE 273 

: Here you are ! ' ' announced the doctor, trying to as- 
sume an ordinary conversational manner. " I hope you 
will find your granddaughter a credit to my care. I've 
done the best I could." 

For answer the Old Captain put out his hand. 
' I don't doubt it, sir, an' I'm thankful to you not only 
for what you have done for her but for f etchin' me round 
here. I reckon I'd never have made port but for you." 
; Boston is a confusing city." 

' It's damnable ! ' was Captain Jabez's emphatic com- 
ment as he moved up the walk. 

Left to himself he mounted the stone steps and halted, 
looking about for some means by which to announce his 
presence. There was neither knocker nor doorbell as he 
knew them and in consequence he rapped impatiently. 
But the rap brought no response. Again he examined 
the premises. 

Whole place sealed up tight as a drum," soliloquized 
he indignantly. ' She might as well be in a prison." 

The words idly uttered brought to his imagination a 
possibility so unpleasant that it caused him to continue 
with determination : 

Well, I'm goin' in anyhow, damn it, if I have to 
break in ! ' 

He put his hand on the knob and to his surprise it 
yielded, and he found himself in a roomy vestibule, where 
was a second door flanked on either side by closely 
cropped bay trees. This portal, however, refused to an- 
swer to his touch and after battling with it until he was 
breathless he espied set in the woodwork a small disc of 
brass. At the risk of summoning the fire department or 
the police the Captain gathered courage and touched it. 
To his dismay its center sank beneath the pressure of 
his finger, threatening to disappear altogether. Never- 
theless resolutely he kept his hold. Whatever the havoc 



274 GRANITE AND CLAY 

his action wrought, at least as if by magic somebody ap- 
peared to be aware of it, for almost instantly the door 
opened and a white-haired man confronted him. 

" I want to see my granddaughter," asserted Captain 
Jabez, squaring his shoulders and speaking with the im- 
periousness of one who brooks no denial. Still he kept 
his finger on the collapsible center of the brass disc. 

" Yes, sir," came politely from the other man. What 
name, sir?' 

"Eh?" asked the visitor, scenting resistance and be- 
ginning to bristle. 

" I simply wished to know the name of the person you 
desire to see," was the mild response. 

" Penelope Turner." 

" Miss Turner ? Certainly, sir. I believe she is at 
home. Won't you step in ? ' 

In the absence of anything savoring of antagonism the 
Old Captain weakened and he ventured to remove his 
hand from the gleaming metal circlet that had been his 
sesame to the mansion. 

In he went through a high-studded hall, dim and spa- 
cious, where every footfall was muffled by heavy rugs. 
A sense of coolness, dignity and stillness came upon him. 
Color caught his eye and he was conscious of the perfume 
of flowers. 

With a gesture of graciousness his conductor at length 
motioned him toward a carved settle. 

"If you will be seated, sir, I will tell Miss Turner you 
are here," he said. " The name is ' 

" I'm her grandfather, Jabez Allen." 

If the words veiled a threat, at least the man who stood 
with such masklike serenity failed to betray that he found 
in them a menacing suggestion. 

" Very well, sir," was all he said as he disappeared. 

The welcome was anything but what Captain Jabez 



FACE TO FACE 275 

had expected. Braced to encounter resistance and do 
battle his taut sinews relaxed and he sank feebly down 
on the wooden bench. Were Penelope to appear at this 
moment he doubted whether he would have found 
strength to pull himself together and get upon his 
feet. 

And what would be her tidings? Ah! that question 
he hardly dared ask. He should know, without her tell- 
ing him, the instant he saw her. Since childhood her 
face had been a mirror of candor. She might intrigue 
in small things but when it came to matters of principle 
she had never concealed wrong-doing, or attempted to 
do so. If she had sinned or been sinned against he should 
read it in her eyes. 

With beating heart he waited. There was a quick 
step on the stairs, a swish of skirts, a flying figure sped 
toward him, and Penelope was in his arms. 

"Grandfather!" she cried. "Grandfather, dear!' 

In spite of his grim New England reserve the Old Cap- 
tain's emotions swept beyond his control and he held her 
close ; then imprisoning her hands and drawing them from 
his neck he held her from him, searching the sensitive 
countenance; but the eyes into which he looked did not 
fall before his scrutiny nor did the lips with their upward 
curve quiver. Nevertheless, despite this vindication he 
was conscious of a change. This was not the Penelope 
who four months before had left home. Vainly he tried 
to solve the puzzle and presently it seeped in on him that 
the subtle transformation he noticed lay in her style of 
hairdressing, in her clothes, in her general air. Penelope 
had become a lady. Her very speech and bearing were 
different. And yet, withal she was the same Penelope, 
the same impulsive, emotional, affectionate creature 
whose indefinable charm had always fascinated and held 
him captive. 



276 GRANITE AND CLAY 

There is nothing the matter at home, Grandfather? ' 
she inquired tremulously, studying with rising distress 
his grave countenance. 

' No, child, no. Not a thing. Is there anything the 
matter here, Penelope ? ' 

' Here ? ' Unflinchingly she looked at him, genuine 
curiosity evident in her uplifted brows. Her childish 
lack of comprehension was not simulated ; she did not un- 
derstand. Had she been guilty the question would have 
seared as he had meant it should ; but in her innocence the 
only reaction it called forth was bewilderment. 

W T hy did you think there was anything the matter? ' 
she inquired, as she took the lapels of his coat in her hands 
and drew him nearer. 

' I got sorter worried, I guess," replied he weakly. 
" Imagining things ? You poor dear ! ' 
Her head was on his breast now and he could feel her 
soft hair brush his cheek. 

' How did you find out where I was? : she asked at 
length, raising herself to steal a glance at him. 
1 Dick Morton was in Belleport an' told me." 
" Dick ! And how did he know? " 
" I can't say." 

" And it was because you heard I'd moved that you 
got anxious and came to Boston ? ' 

That was about it, yes." 

" I'm so sorry you were alarmed," she said ; then add- 
ed, " I can't think how Dick could have found out where 
I was." 

' Ain't addresses common property? : 
" This one wasn't." The words were impulsively 
spoken and after they were uttered she seemed to regret 
them. 

"Why not?" 

" Because, you see, Mr. Hamilton and I decided I could 



FACE TO FACE 277 

work with less interruption if nobody knew where I 
was," explained she slowly. ' Besides ' 

" Well," demanded her grandfather with quick sus- 
picion. 

" There were lots of reasons why it was better for me 
to keep my whereabouts a secret," she answered, betray- 
ing for the first time signs of uneasiness. 

" But you might have let me know where you were. 
Why didn't you, Penelope ? ' 

At the question her lids drooped until their fringed 
lashes curtained her eyes. 

" I was afraid you might not understand be wor- 
ried," she faltered. 

"Why?" 

" Oh, because ' 

" I want the truth, the whole of it," came from the Old 
Captain in a tense whisper. 

With swift inquiry she gazed at him, scanning his 
face. 

" I got a little tired and " 

" You were ill." 

" How did you know, dear ? ' He felt her hand cover 
his as if she would shield him from a blow. 

" By a curious chance I stumbled on the doctor who 
took care of you." 

" Doctor Towner ! ' There was surprise in the com- 
ment, and relief too; but there was also misgiving. 

" I suppose it was him a big blue-eyed chap with 
glasses." 

" Yes, yes ; that was Doctor Towner. How splendid 
he is! And so you happened to meet him, did you? 
What did he tell you?" 

" He said you had been very sick, Penelope? ' 

" I'm I'm afraid I was," murmured she, instantly 
continuing, " and what else did he say ? ' 



278 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" He told me what the matter was," came in a low 
tone from Captain Jabez. 

" Grandfather? ' The cry mingled interrogation with 
distress. 

" It was best I should know the facts, dear child. Why 
didn't you tell me yourself, Penelope? ' 

" Oh, I couldn't bear to ! ' she cried. " I knew you 
were doing all you could. How could I ask for more? 
It was tremendously generous of you to do so much. I 
thought I could get on until the book was done." Then 
as if a sudden fear had taken possession of her she whis- 
pered, " You don't think Mr. Hamilton knows, do you ? ' 

" I've no notion what Hamilton knows," was the sharp 
retort. : Where did you first run afoul of this Hamilton, 
Penelope, an' how come he to bring you here? That is 
what I want to find out." 

Why, I can tell you all you wish to know, Grand- 
father," smiled she, drawing him down beside her on the 
settle. ' It must seem strange to you. Still, it came 
about very naturally and I am sure when I explain it you 
will understand." 

In simple, straightforward fashion she began her tale, 
sketching in the facts with rapid clear-cut strokes. Cap- 
tain Jabez listened, his eyes never leaving her face. 
When the story was done he scratched his head as if 
there still remained elements in it that puzzled him. 

' But all this don't tell why a man such as this Ham- 
ilton feller should have brought you here," he objected, 
his gaze riveted wih piercing inquiry on his grand- 
daughter. 

1 He wanted me to finish the book, Grandfather. 
Can't you see?' was the girl's eager reply. "He felt 
sure he was going to make money out of it and he wanted 
me where he could keep track of me." 

" U m. So that was what he told you, was it ? ' 



FACE TO FACE 279 



Yes." 
The Captain stroked his rough chin. 



<c 



You see," went on Penelope with animation, ' there 
was quite a lot more to be done to the manuscript. We 
had to go all over it and touch it up in places. I had 
never had any training in writing and Mr. Hamilton was 
very kind and patient about helping me. And then after- 
ward we had to have a stenographer type it." 

O h!" 

" It has been a big piece of work, Grandfather." 

He nodded. 

" Is it done now ? ' 

" Yes, every line of it ! ' Her eyes sparkled ; but with 
his next words the glow in them died out. 

" Then I take it there ain't no call for you to linger on 
here any longer." 

" Why eh " 

" There ain't nothin' to prevent your goin' back home 
with me, is there ? ' 

"When?" 

" Now right off to-day this afternoon." 

" Oh, Grandfather ' No confession could have 
been more eloquent than the impulsive objection, accom- 
panied as it was by the color that flooded her face; it 
surged in mad riot up into her cheeks, dyeing them with 
a throbbing tide of scarlet. 

" Well ? " 

" Why I yes I suppose I could go home to- 
day," responded she slowly. " But wouldn't it be better 
for me to wait and and 'See Mr. Hamilton first? 
He has been very good to me, you know, and it hardly 
seems nice for me to to go away without thanking 
him. Besides, I have to pack my things." 

" You could write Mr. Hamilton all you need to say 
to him," was the curt answer. " As for packin', you 



280 GRANITE AND CLAY 

have plenty of time. The train doesn't go until nearly 
four o'clock. I figger you could bundle what few things 
you have into your trunk before then." 

" I suppose 'I could." 

" Then that's all right," smiled the Old Captain. " I 
guess 'twill seem pretty good to you to get out of this 
town an' back to the Cape. Hot weather is comin' an' the 
city is stifflin' already." 

" I hadn't noticed it." 

; That's 'cause up to now you've been busy. But once 
you're back in Belleport you'll twig the difference." 

* I suppose so." 

: Well, then, since everything's settled what do you 
say to you an' me goin' somewheres an' gettin' a square 
meal," suggested Captain Jabez gayly. ' I'm famished ! 
I feel like as if I'd never et nothin' in all my born days," 

Ordinarily such a holiday scheme would have been 
hailed with delight by Penelope; but to-day she yielded 
to it with reluctance. 

" I'll have to dress," objected she. 

" Nonsense ! ' 

" But I will have to, dear. I cannot go out to lunch- 
eon in this gown; besides, it will have to be packed." 

" Well," capitulated the Captain impatiently. ' Go 
ahead, then. I don't know nothin' about women's 
clothes. Only get ready fast as you can, 'cause I'm 
starvin' an' don't want to wait." 

" I'll do the best I can." 

Nevertheless, despite this acquiescence, as Penelope 
disappeared up the broad staircase there was a tilt to her 
resolute little head that hinted of revolt; it was as if she 
yielded but did not really surrender. The Old Captain 
smiled to himself but his tranquillity was not disturbed. 
Women were like that when taken by surprise. Neither 
Martha nor Elizabeth liked to have their plans abruptly 



FACE TO FACE 281 

upset. A lack of adaptability was characteristic of the 
feminine sex. 

No, it was neither Penelope nor her past that was giv- 
ing him concern now. Evidently no harm had been done 
and if harm was intended he had thwarted its accom- 
plishment before it had had opportunity to ripen into 
disaster. Henceforth he should drop Penelope from his 
thought. 

But Mr. Gordon Hamilton was a bird of another 
feather. He should not let that gentleman off so easily 
or cease his investigations regarding his conduct until he 
had confronted the man face to face and wrung from 
him answers to a few of the questions that defied solu- 
tion and baffled the mind. With Penelope's role in this 
curious drama he was satisfied ; but Hamilton's enigmatic 
actions he had not yet probed to their depths. Had this 
stranger, as Penelope asserted, been governed solely 
by mercenary motives; or was there something finer 
and more altruistic behind his seeming heartlessness ? 
Or was he a rascal urged on by depravity and evil in- 
tent? 

Captain Jabez was at a loss to furnish replies to these 
questions. But he meant to know. He was determined 
to know. During the early afternoon while Penelope was 
busy with her packing he would hunt up Hamilton and 
force answers from him. If business interests had 
prompted him to act as he had he should be reimbursed 
for every cent he had expended; if philanthropy or the 
gentler impulses of pity had stirred him he should re- 
ceive gratitude; but if his ultimate aim had been to en- 
snare the innocent he should be visited with the righteous 
wrath of the avenger. 

With accumulating purpose the old man rose, then 
started back at the click of a key in the latch of the heavy 
door. Coming toward him through the dim hall ad- 



282 GRANITE AND CLAY 

vanced a figure that moved with a decision as definite as 
his own. It stopped before him with extended hand. 

" I hoped to reach home, Mr. Allen, before you had the 
chance to slip away," said the stranger with a brilliant 
smile. " I am Gordon Hamilton." 



CHAPTER XXIX 

AN ALLIANCE 

To all appearances Captain Jabez Allen failed to no- 
tice the extended hand, neither did he return the smile 
of the newcomer ; but Hamilton passed lightly over these 
omissions as if unconscious of them. 

' Doctor Towner called me up at the office," explained 
he, " and mentioned that you were here and of course 
I hailed the opportunity for meeting you and having a 
talk." 

' I want to talk to you, too, sir," returned the Old 
Captain with emphasis. 

' I thought perhaps you might," the other replied im- 
perturbably. ' Suppose we come into the library where 
we shall be less interrupted. Where is Miss Turner? ' 

" Penelope's gone upstairs to change her dress. I'm 
intendin' to take her out to get some lunch an' after- 
wards we're goin' to Belleport." 

" Oh, I couldn't hear of your doing that," protested 
Gordon. " You must lunch here." 

" Thankin' you kindly, sir, I think we'll go elsewhere." 

"But why?" 

" I ain't sure, Mr. Hamilton, that I want to break 
bread in this house." 

The reply held a significance which it was useless to 
evade. 

" I am afraid, Mr. Allen, you and I do not altogether 



284 GRANITE AND CLAY 

understand each other," answered his host with gentle 
dignity. " Let us sit down and see if we cannot clear 
up a few of the points that seem so troublesome." 

" I'd admire to. Nothin' would suit me better." 

They had entered the library and Hamilton with his 
accustomed graciousness drew forward a chair. 

" I'd as lief stand, sir," came stubbornly from Captain 
Jabez. 

" As you please." 

Whatever else Hamilton might do, it was apparent 
that he did not intend to lose his temper ; his attitude to- 
ward the man who confronted him was one of resolute 
patience and kindness. Moving quietly across the room, 
he closed the door. 

" Now, Mr. Allen, I am at your service," he said. 
" What can I do for you ? ' 

" What I want to know is how you came to bring my 
granddaughter here," answered the Cape Cod man, leap- 
ing without introduction to the heart of the issue in hand. 
" I want the truth, no matter what it is. I've got to 
have it." 

Involuntarily and without the slightest consciousness 
of doing so Gordon Hamilton drew himself up and his 
lips parted as if a sharp retaliation trembled upon them; 
but an instant later he had checked the unspoken words 
and the tension of his figure relaxed. 

" I will gladly tell you anything you wish to know, Mr. 
Allen," he responded. " I realize perfectly that the course 
I have pursued has not been usual and that it must seem 
strange to you. You certainly have the right to inquire 
into my motives. Nevertheless, I hope you will believe 
me when I tell you that everything I have done has been 
done with all respect and deference to Miss Turner. I 
was eager to help both' her and myself and this method 
of doing it seemed to me the most direct way. If I have 



AN ALLIANCE 285 

erred by transgressing conventionalities it has not been 
from any unworthy motive." 

You ain't answered my question yet, Mr. Hamilton," 
was the Old Captain's retort. ' I asked you why you 
brought Penelope here." 

" Miss Turner was taken ill in my office." 

" I'm aware of that." The eaglelike gaze that scruti- 
nized Hamilton's face did not waver. 

' She seemed to be very ill and to need care. I feared 
that if I sent her back to her boarding place she might 
be hurried to a hospital and perhaps - well, you know, 
Mr. Allen, what hospitals are. I just could not bear the 
idea of it." 

" Did you suspect what was the matter with Penel- 
ope? " queried the fisherman with merciless directness. 

For the first time Gordon hesitated. 

"I I thought she had been been working too 
hard and was fagged out." 

That was all you thought ? ' 

The answer which Captain Jabez demanded did not 
come immediately. 

' Not quite all," Hamilton admitted with reluctance. 
" I thought she seemed ' 

" Come, out with it ! Don't let's stop to mince 
matters." 

" It seemed to me that she had, perhaps, become so ab- 
sorbed in her work that she had not taken the proper 
nourishment." 

" So you knew it from the first, eh ? ' 

" Knew what?' Adroitly Hamilton shifted the tables 
and became the inquisitor. 

That Penelope was 'most starved." 

"I ' But Captain Jabez cut him short. 
You did know? " persisted the other. 
Yes," murmured Gordon unwillingly. 



(6 
ft 



286 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" An' knowin' that you fetched her here ? ' 

" Yes." 

"Why?" 

" I had plenty of room and every facility for taking 
care of her as she should be taken care of, Mr. Allen. 
My housekeeper, who nursed my mother for years, is 
very clever with sick persons and I felt sure would know 
what to do. No . " he held up a hand to stay his vis- 
itor who would have interrupted him, " do not misunder- 
stand me. I was selfish in what I did. I felt confident 
that the book Miss Turner had written would make a 
big hit and be a money getter for our firm. I had no in- 
tention of letting her slip into invalidism and leave the 
manuscript unfinished. I wanted her where I could keep 
track of her until it was done." 

" So that was it ! An' that was all ? " 

" Yes, that was all at the time or at least I thought 
it was," muttered Gordon, thrusting his hands moodily 
into his coat pockets and studying the Bokhara on which 
his feet were planted. 

" Have you anything more you want to add to what 
you've already told me, Mr. Hamilton ? ' Captain Jabez 
presently inquired, when the pause had lapsed into op- 
pressive silence. 

" Only this that although I have tried to shield Miss 
Turner in every way from comment and criticism, I am 
afraid the means I have taken to do so may have been a 
blundering one and brought about the exact result I de- 
sired to avoid. I can see now that it would have been 
wiser, fairer to you, load she written and acquainted you 
with the circumstances under which she was here; or it 
might have been better if I had not brought her here at 
all. It is hard to know. But when I talked with her I 
found her so eager to keep the fact of her illness from 
you that I counseled her to say nothing about it. She 



AN ALLIANCE 287 

thought it would hurt you, and that if we could prevent 
your knowing it might save you regret. Moreover, it 
was not a thing to be gossiped about. You see, Mr. 
Allen, your granddaughter is to become quite a person 
when her book is out. Instantly the public will be clam- 
oring to hear all about her and her affairs. I did not 
wish* people to know ' 

" I understand," put in Captain Jabez with quick per- 
ception. " So that was it ! ' 

" That is not quite all." 

Nevertheless, despite the intimation that he had more 
to say Gordon Hamilton did not speak at once, and when 
at length he did it was to add in a voice tremulous with 
earnestness : 

" I have concealed two facts from Miss Turner and I 
should appreciate it if for the present at least you would 
help me to conceal them, Mr. Allen. One is that when 
I brought her here I knew ' 

" That she was penniless an' starvin' ' 

Hamilton nodded. 

" An' the other ? " 

" The other is that I love her." 

The room was very still and the men confronting one 
another as motionless as statues. 

' I think that I must have loved her from the first, al- 
though I was not aware of it until recently. But I have 
been unwilling to let her know this. In the first place, 
she is beneath my roof and were I to tell her it might 
put her in an awkward position; in the second place, she 
persists in feeling that she is indebted to me and I do not 
wish her misled by any impulses of gratitude to take this 
means of making restitution. Much as I love her 
nay, because I love her I could not accept such a sacri- 
fice. She must come to me solely because she cares for 
me or not at all." 



288 GRANITE AND CLAY 

How vibrant with throbbing stillness the great room 
was! 

Then, breaking in upon its intensity, came the voice of 
Captain Jabez : 

' Mr. Hamilton," he said, striding toward the younger 
man with extended palm, " when I met you in the hall- 
way I refused to take your hand. I ask your pardon, 
sir. I wronged an honest gentleman an' I am ashamed 
of it." 

" I pray, Mr. Allen, that you " 

" I ain't been fair to you, sir," went on the Old Cap- 
tain, not permitting his confession to be checked. ' I 
came here suspectin' an' cursin' you. I shall go away 
to bless you for your goodness to my child. But for you 
she might not be alive now. Oh, I understand how it 
all come about her pride, an' her unwillingness to ask 
for more money; an' yet I'd have worked my fingers to 
the bone an' gladly sent her every penny I had rather 
than that she should have come to want in a big city 
such as this." He shuddered. ' How am I ever goin' 
to repay you, Mr. Hamilton? ; 

1 By keeping my two secrets, Mr. Allen. That is all 
the payment I wish. When we can serve those we love 
the joy of doing it is payment in itself." 

"You say you ain't said nothin' to Penelope?' ven- 
tured the fisherman, suddenly becoming shy. 

" No." 

" Do you think she suspects how you feel ? ' 

" I do not know. It hardly seems possible she 
shouldn't. And yet I have tried to ' 

" You have been a gentleman in every sense of the 
word, Mr. Hamilton. Few men would have acted as 
you have. I appreciate it, sir." 

You would be willing, then, that after Penelope has 
returned to Belleport I should come to see her ? ' 



AN ALLIANCE 289 



' Certain." 
" I should like it," went on Hamilton swiftly, " if 



if she cared for me, if we could be married soon. 
There would be no reason for delay. My house awaits 
a mistress and I have sufficient income to support a 
wife." 

Captain Jabez took a turn across the room, rumpling 
his thin locks as he went. He seemed to be trying to 
accustom himself to a new idea. 

' I s'pose likely there wouldn't be nothin' much to wait 
for," he agreed. ' Penelope ain't never been really 
happy at home. By that, I mean she ain't never really 
fitted in with her aunts. They're good souls but they 
ain't understood her an' it's been a bit hard. Fur's I can 
see there'd be no objections. Of course, I'd miss her ' 
the old man faltered an instant, " but then, as you your- 
self were sayin' a minute ago, servin' those we love is 
payment in itself. The rest you know. There's no use 
pretendin' we're anything we ain't. Penelope comes of 
plain folks, Mr. Hamilton. I hope you've thought of 
that carefully. She ain't been brought up as you've been 
an* she won't bring you nothin'." 

( If she will bring me herself it will be all I ask. Be- 
sides, Penelope is to be a celebrity some day. There is 
no inequality in the marriage," declared Gordon proudly, 
' or if there is it is on my side." 

: Then I take it you an' me understand one another 
at last, young man," concluded Captain Jabez, with one 
of his rare smiles. 

' I think we do, yes. And you will remain for 
luncheon ? ' 

' Since you're so kind, sir, I'd admire to. An' more'n 
that I'll set down," added he whimsically. 

As he dropped into one of the leather chairs Hamilton 
stepped forward and touched a bell. 



290 GRANITE AND CDAY 

" There will be three at luncheon, Roberts," he an- 
nounced to his servant. " And go up and ask Miss Tur- 
ner if she will join us in the library. Tell her that her 
grandfather has decided to lunch here." 



CHAPTER XXX 

CAPTAIN JABEZ MAKES A MISTAKE 

THE hours following Penelope's return to Belleport 
surged with intermingled impressions that took on for 
the girl an unreality mystic and memorable. Every 
homely detail of the old life from which she had been so 
long estranged was gilded with the charm of novelty. 
Never had the weather-beaten house at the sea's rim ap- 
peared so picturesque and precious, never the vast out-of- 
doors with its immensity of space and stillness so limitless 
and beautiful. 

When, the supper dishes washed, she slipped from the 
kitchen and stood alone in the twilight beneath the arch- 
ing infinitude of sky a vital realization of her oneness 
with the Divine overwhelmed her. So close did that 
brooding presence seem that she felt she had only to trav- 
erse the shimmering zone of light which, clear-cut as a 
ribbon of gold, narrowed away to meet the sagging moon, 
to be at the footstool of the God whose love banded the 
swinging planets and vibrated unmistakably in the at- 
mosphere about her. 

In Penelope's breast rioted a chaos of emotions that 
went to make up this exultation. Paramount among 
them was a happiness which mounted to the dizzy heights 
of ecstasy and was born of a cause she was at a loss to 
define. She had, to be sure, wrested success from a none 
too generous world; but the joy that thrilled her arose 
not from this personal triumph. It was rooted in some- 
thing deeper and more satisfying, something that was not 



292 GRANITE AND CLAY 

of herself alone although intertwined with the very fibers 
of her being and pulsing with the throbbing of her own 
heart. And with this strange and never before experi- 
enced joy in paradoxical contrast ran an undercurrent of 
haunting sadness, vague as a mist and as intangible. Its 
note quivered poignantly in everything about her in 
the sobbing of the sea, in the whisper of the surf, in the 
music of the dark, land-born pines whose eerie shadows 
blackened the hills that hemmed in the village. 

'Twixt these two sensations she stood poised like a 
soul between two worlds, borrowing from the one an 
ineffable bliss and from the other a pain that transcended 
any suffering she had previously kno\vn. Subconscious- 
ly there recurred to her mind with a persistence not to 
be vanquished the remembrance of Gordon Hamilton to 
whom she had so recently said farewell. They had part- 
ed with a handclasp close and firm, and a long wordless 
look when his eyes had held hers for an interval over- 
powering in its intensity. But there had been no speech 
between them and after this silent adieu she had gone 
out from his home never to return. 

It was strange how vital a part of her life the brief 
stay beneath this man's roof had become. When the 
door closed upon the incident the sound caused her to 
cringe as if she were shut out of paradise. Of late she 
had felt herself to be very closely knit to the old mansion; 
for with the return of her strength, gratitude had prompt- 
ed her to assume trifling duties in connection with it that 
immediately transformed her from an onlooker to a par- 
ticipator in its domestic regime. She had, for example, 
assumed the care of the plants and flowers, and it had 
pleased her to see Hamilton's face brighten when he es- 
pied about the house touches that were unmistakably hers. 
For Penelope's passion for beauty could not but voice 
itself; and when it spoke it was not in the terms of the 



CAP'N JABEZ MAKES A MISTAKE 293 

traditional and hackneyed. From the treasures the 
house possessed she sought out rare and unusual con- 
tainers for her blossoms, and formed combinations of 
grace and color that instantly betrayed another hand than 
Catherine's. 

Sometimes, too, on a day when Roberts and the maids 
were busier than usual, she had ventured to dust her room 
and as she touched its time-worn furnishings she had de- 
lighted to recall how Gordon's mother and his grand- 
mother must long ago have fingered these very objects. 
How the contact seemed to merge her into their lives and 
his, and how natural the connection! 

Well, that chapter of her existence was closed. She 
had come back to Belleport to live out her years, come 
with those priceless remembrances to enrich them and 
render them forever sacred; and even though the Cin- 
derella tale was told was it not something to have played 
a part in it if only for a fleeting moment? Nothing 
could ever wrest those days of magic from her. They 
were hers to rehearse and delight in so long as memory 
should remain. 

Conjuring them up now in imagination she tried to 
tint with the afterglow of their splendor the gray real- 
ities of the present. For in the same proportion that her 
old life heralded its beauties with heightened emphasis, 
so in like ratio were its irritating elements accentuated. 
Aunt Martha's unyielding New Englandism had never 
stood out with such austerity and unloveliness. Aunt 
Elizabeth's petty gossip and triviality had never been 
more patience taxing. Oh, they had rejoiced to have 
her back again, there could be no question about that ; 
but they were far less interested in hearing of her achieve- 
ments than they were in the knowledge that once again 
she would be at hand to bear her share in the household 
duties. 



294 GRANITE AND CLAY 

This limitation of their vision grated keenly on Penel- 
ope's sensitively attuned nature. How narrow they 
were, how selfish ! And yet had she but been acquainted 
with the entire truth she might have been less severe in 
her judgment, for in point of fact Captain Jabez, know- 
ing well his daughters and not trusting Elizabeth's artless 
and indiscreet tongue, had to a great extent held back the 
story of Penelope's experiences in Boston. They would 
not be able, argued he to himself, to regard the informa- 
tion impartially and from a broad angle. Martha's first 
comment would be: 

" Well, this only proves that I was right when I said 
the city warn't any place to send a girl like Penelope." 

Elizabeth, less balanced than her sister, would be likely 
to fly off at almost any unexpected and illogical tangent 
and spread throughout the community indiscreet gossip. 
It was from this comment the Old Captain was deter- 
mined to shield not only Penelope but Hamilton and the 
Allen family as well. The Aliens had been talked about 
enough. The whispering tongues of the hamlet should 
have no opportunity to bandy about and distort stories 
of the girl's illness, her residence at Hamilton's house, 
or the possible happy climax to her romance. It was 
too delicate a fabric to be fingered by blundering 
hands. Hence he kept the affair locked within his breast 
and as he counseled his granddaughter to do the same, 
Belleport was none the wiser concerning her adven- 
tures. 

Nevertheless the transformation that had been worked 
in Penelope could not be concealed and was apparent to 
every one with whom she came in contact. 

" She's older, quieter, more in earnest," announced 
Elizabeth. " An' yet that ain't really it, either." 

" She's somehow more real," Martha observed, 
wrinkling her brows thoughtfully. 



CAP'N JABEZ MAKES A MISTAKE 295 

Both opinions were true but perhaps the latter was the 
more intelligent. Penelope was more real. Far behind 
her she had flung all artificiality and without self-con- 
sciousness had lapsed into the spontaneously delightful 
and complex individual heaven had foreordained her to 
be. She charmed by her very personality; she piqued, 
interested, allured. 

" I don't see what's come over the child," marveled 
Aunt Elizabeth. " Those four months in the city seem 
to have made her all over. She's like as if she'd been 
to Europe or somewheres. Queer, ain't it? Of course 
her clothes are accountable for a lot. That hat she wears 
seems to put the very devil into her. The tilt of it ac- 
tually does somethin' to her, though I don't know what 
it is. I wonder if I could fix over my black straw to look 
like that." 

" Mercy sakes, Eliza, it makes me sick to hear a wom- 
an of your age talkin' all the time about the fashions," 
interrupted her sister with grim rebuke. You'd much 
better put your mind on the savin' of your immortal 
soul ! " 

Why can't I think of my hat an' my soul too ? " re- 
torted Elizabeth pertly. 

'Cause it never works out that way." 
: What never works out that way?' inquired Penel- 
ope, who had just entered with a sheaf of purple iris in 
her arms. 

" Mindin' your soul an' your hat at the same time," 
her aunt declared. " We expect frivolity an' foolishness 
of the young. If you choose to put all the money you 
earn on your back, for instance, that's for you to say; 
but it ain't becomin' to 'Liza to do it." 

" Penelope didn't put all her money on her back, 
Martha," Elizabeth protested indignantly. "Didn't she 
mail that check home to Pa? " 



296 GRANITE AND CLAY 

" Much good it did him ! ' ' sniffed Martha. 

" Why do you say that ? ' the girl inquired, glancing 
quickly from one woman to the other. 

" He didn't tell you then ? ' piped Elizabeth with a 
significant smile. 

"Tell me what?" 

" Why, your grandfather ' her aunt began, de- 
lighted to be the spokesman of tidings so startling. But 
Martha cut her short. 

" I s'pose you couldn't rest, 'Liza, if you didn't blab 
all you know," declared she with scorn. 

"You began it; I didn't. 'Twas you mentioned the 
check first." 

" No matter who mentioned it," burst out Penelope. 
" What I want to know is what happened ? ' 

" Why, the check got tore up." 

" Torn up ! " 

" Yes," nodded Martha. " Your grandfather was so 
flustered with startin' off to Boston that he tore the check 
up by mistake. I never knew him to do such a thing be- 
fore. Of course, after he'd been so heedless he felt 
pretty small about it, an' was ashamed to tell a soul. 
Hadn't Eliza discovered the pieces lyin' on the lawn, 
we'd never V been the wiser." 

Searchingly Penelope looked from one of her aunts to 
the other. Elizabeth stared at her in return; but 
Martha's eyes dropped to a pan she was buttering. 

" It doesn't sound like Grandfather," she said slowly. 

" No more it does," Martha echoed. " Still, goin' to 
Boston an' all ain't an everyday happenin' with Pa. Like 
enough he was kinder swept out of his senses by the 
prospect." 

" So he never used the check," mused Penelope, be- 
wildered. 

" He didn't have no chance," put in Elizabeth. " He 



CAP'N JABEZ MAKES A MISTAKE 297 

didn't get it 'til last night. Even if he hadn't tore it up 
he wouldn't have had time to cash it." 

" No o, of course not." The girl was thoughtful. 
' Fur's that goes, there's no call for anybody to' go 
fussin' about that check," Martha asserted, going quietly 
to the corner cupboard and raising the lid of the blue 
Canton sugar-bowl. ( Here it is ! ' 

" What? " cried Elizabeth and her niece in a breath. 

Martha extended the slip of green paper. 
' I pasted it together," explained she simply. " I'd a 
notion Pa might be sorry about it an' wish he had it back. 
'Twarn't much work to doctor it up, an' in case he 
wanted it 'twould be at hand. See! You can hardly 
tell the difference." 

Reaching out, Penelope took the magic fragment be- 
tween her fingers and let her eyes wander to its boldly in- 
scribed signature: Gordon Hamilton. Even the sight 
of the name threw her into a tumult of emotion. 

" Grandfather must cash this right away," announced 
she hurriedly. * I'm going to take it to him now." 

' I reckon it's yours to do with as you please," con- 
ceded Martha, with a shrug of her shoulders. 

Clutching the fragile bit of paper in her hand, Penelope 
hastened out. The moon was now riding high in the 
heaven and amid a flood of silver light the patches of 
Queen Anne's lace that spangled the lawn looked like 
snow. How sweet was the pine-perfumed air! How 
still the night ! 

Beyond in the sprawling shadow of the barn she could 
see her grandfather shutting up the hens. She hurried 
to join him. 

" That you, Penelope ? ' he called. 

" Yes, Grandfather. Aren't you coming in pretty 
soon? It is getting late." 

" Yes, child, yes ; I'm comin' right away. I've been 



298 GRANITE AND CLAY 

dickerin' with the hens. They seemed sorter spleeny. 
I can't think what could 'a* come over 'em though f ur^s 
that goes I ain't fur from feelin' spleeny myself. A day 
in the city leaves me clean beat out. I ain't young like 
you, Penelope. Likely you'd be pleased enough to live 
in Boston all the time." 

The girl looked away quickly. 

1 U m ! That's about what I imagined," was the 
Old Captain's gruff comment. " An' who knows but 
you may be doin' it sometime, too? Stranger things 
have happened." 

" I guess that is a strangeness that is not likely to hap- 
pen," fluted Penelope lightly. 

You never can tell," drawled her grandfather. 
' Life is an almighty queer place. I was up to Morton's 
this evening" continued he nonchalantly. " Dick's here 
seein' his folks. He's goin' back to Boston to-morrow 
mornin'. Him an' me had quite a chat. He's a well- 
meanin' chap, Dick is, although he blunders at times an' 
goes off half-cocked. He tells me he's goin' to get 
married." 

1 Married? " gasped Penelope. 

Yep," nodded Captain Jabez, darting a shrewd glance 
at the girl's moonlit countenance. ' He's marryin' the 
daughter of the man he works for a Miss Wilmot. 
'Most nobody knows it yet but he told me. Seems she 
was engaged to somebody else, an Englishman I 
think it was, but that's all broken off. Yes, Dick's 
marryin' her. He's pleased clean out of his wits, 
poor lad. I figger it was sorter sudden an' unex- 
pected all around. His folks did not have an inklin' 
of it." 

' I hope they're glad," put in Penelope quickly. " I 
met Miss Wilmot once in Boston and she seemed awfully 



nice.' 



CAP'N JABEZ MAKES A MISTAKE 299 

The Old Captain thrust his hand into his pocket for his 
pipe and proceeded to light it. 

Then you don't mind Dick's marryin' ? ' he at last 
puffed bluntly. 

" Mind ? Why should I ? " 

" I didn't think you would," declared the old man 
tranquilly. " Still, there's never any calculatin' on what 
a woman may do." 

' Or a man either, Grandfather," laughed Penelope 
merrily. ' How did you happen to tear my check ? ' 

' Eh ! ' ejaculated Captain Jabez, plainly nonplused 
by the question. 

' Aunt Martha said you were so addled getting off to 
Boston this morning that by mistake you tore up the 
check I sent you." 

" She told you that, did she? " 

" Yes." 

: Well, well ! ' He appeared to be temporizing. 
' Martha certainly reads me like a book," he at length 
observed, with a broad smile. " She's keener'n a hawk, 
that woman ! ' 

Penelope watched while he rubbed his hands awkward- 
ly together. 

1 Fortunately the check wasn't badly torn, Grand- 
father," announced she. " It has been nicely mended. 
See ! " 

" Bless my soul ! ' The Captain was plainly amazed 
and showed it. 

" You don't suppose the bank will mind taking it, do 
you? You can explain to them how it happened." 

" Oh, Eli won't mind," returned Captain Jabez, flat- 
tening the green paper on his palm and turning it so that 
the silvery radiance of the moon fell full on it. " All I'll 
need to say will be that I tore it up by mistake by mis- 
take" reiterated he with emphasis. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

A DAY DREAM 

THE next morning Captain Jabez awoke in the highest 
of spirits. Almost before sunrise, through the partition 
that separated their rooms, Penelope could hear him 
splashing the water about and dressing to a brisk accom- 
paniment of " Pop Goes the Weasel." Breakfast over, 
off he scurried to Sawyer's Falls, delaying only long 
enough to search his pockets for Martha's much crum- 
pled grocery list ; although sadly in need of a pair of knit- 
ting needles, such was his haste and impatience that Eliza- 
beth dared not suggest an additional errand. 

" He's as possessed to be off as a boat with her sails 
set," grumbled she. " To see him you'd think the Old 
Nick himself was after him." 

Her sister laughed. 

" Likely he ain't for takin' any more chances with that 
check," she replied. " Besides, he knows you're standin* 
ready to hitch a lot more things on to that list of his an' 
he ain't riskin' that. Just because he has some money it's 
no sign he's hankerin' to spend it." 

" Knittin' needles ain't much to buy." 

" They are for Pa," Martha answered. " Sometimes 
I wish spendin' a cent hurt you as it hurts him ; I reckon 
you wouldn't let the pennies slip through your fingers 
fast as you do if it did." 

" He's spent enough on Penelope." 

"That's different. Penelope is somethin' to Pa that 



A DAY DREAM 301 

nobody else in the world is. Besides, he's shrewd. I 
reckon he figgered that what he put out on Penelope was 
a sort of investment. An' he warn't far wrong either. 
He got his money back again, you see." 
" Still, he might not have." 



'> 
tt 



That's true. But did you ever see the day Pa warn't 
able to pick a winner ? He knew better'n you or me what 
he was doin'. He has a long head on his shoulders, Pa 
has, if he does let Penelope bamboozle him." 

In silence Elizabeth rinsed the dish towels. 

" Ain't it queer how that girl has turned out writin' 
that book an' all ? ' ruminated she. It 'most takes my 
breath away every time I think of it. It keeps comin' 
to me in the night how pleased Mary'd be an' that 
poor, scatter-brain husband of hers, too. Do you know, 
Martha, I've sometimes thought there was more to John 
Turner than any of us gave him credit for." 

" Mebbe there was," was her sister's noncommittal re- 
sponse. ' Certainly Mary must 'a' seen somethin' in him 
that other folks didn't see." 

" That's kinder like it is with Penelope, ain't it ? ' 
Elizabeth meandered on. " You wouldn't ever have put 
her down for bein' particularly smart. Pa seems terrible 
impressed by what she'd done. He told me last night 
that there was no knowin' where she might fetch up." 

" Pa's awful mysterious an' strange since he got back 
from Boston," remarked Martha half to herself. ' He 
acts as if he'd got somethin' on his mind. I can't think 
what the matter can be with him." 

" I ain't noticed nothinV Elizabeth was instantly on 
edge with curiosity. 

" Oh, likely it's only my imagination," Martha 
hurriedly declared, as if regretting the observation. 

" But it must be somethin' if you've noticed it," Eliza 
insisted. " I will confess I've caught him lookin' at 



302 GRANITE AND CLAY 

Penelope sorter queer, as if he was puzzlin' about her. 
Still, that ain't to be wondered at, considerin'." 

" No, of course not," rejoined Martha. " Prob'ly Pa 
is just try in' same as the rest of us to get used to the idea 
of her earnin' all that money." 

Evidently the explanation satisfied Elizabeth for with 
the dish towels in her hands she moved toward the door. 

" Mebbe," agreed she indifferently. These towels 
are gettin' yellower'n saffron. I'm goin' to lay 'em out 
on the grass. By the way, where's Penelope ? ' 

" She's over at the beach." 

" At the beach ! At this time of day? For goodness' 
sake ! Anybody'd think there warn't a thing in the world 
to do. What's took her there ? " 

" Pa suggested it." 

" Pa! " 

Martha nodded. 

" Yes, Pa said now she was home she must take a bit 
of a rest. He said she'd been workin' pretty hard in 
Boston." 

" But writin' ain't work," Elizabeth objected. " Why, 
whenever I want to rest my feet I always drop down an' 
write a letter." 

" It does seem light work ; of course, it ain't to be men- 
tioned in the same breath with washin' or cleanin'. I 
s'pose, though, that doin' a lot of it is tiresome in its 
way." 

' Penelope doesn't look tired." 

" I know she doesn't. In fact, I never saw her so 
healthy in all my life. Still, tired or not, them was Pa's 
orders. He said we weren't to let her do a thing round 
the house for a week at least." 

' A week ! Is she goin' to take a whole week of loi- 
terin' ? I never heard of such a notion! If Pa don't look 
out he'll have Penelope back mopin' like she was before. 



A DAY DREAM 303 

She's given enough to moonin' round without bein' en- 
couraged in it. She don't need to be egged on to do it, 
goodness knows. I should think Pa was crazy. Why, 
to set round a whole week is enough to drive anybody 
clean out of their mind." 

" I certainly wouldn't care to idle that way myself," 
acquiesced Martha. " I have to be doin' somethin' ; when 
I ain't I'm like a fish out of water. But Penelope's dif- 
ferent. She can sit an' look straight ahead of her for 
hours together." 

"That's the Turner in her!" announced Elizabeth. 
"Why, I've seen John Turner sit like a heathen image 
an' stare at the ocean when there warn't so much as a sail 
to be spied on it. I remember askin' him once what he 
thought he was lookin' at an' he told me it warn't nothin* 
I could see. His answer nettled me. I know I'm near- 
sighted; still, I can usually make out everything other 
folks can, when I've my glasses on. I told him that but 
he only smiled an* kept insistin' glasses wouldn't help me 
none. He seemed to be sorter enjoy in' some joke all to 
himself an' it made me so mad that by an' by I got out 
of patience an' snapped out sorter sharp that if what he 
was lookin' at was that small I didn't consider it worth 
lookin' at anyhow. With that I come into the house an' 
left him settin' there, still starin'." 

" 'Twas just like him," sniffed Martha. " He certain- 
ly was the oddest critter alive. No wonder he led poor 
Mary a helterskelter life. Penelope is lots like him. I 
can see his traits croppin' out in her every day. The way 
she wanders off to the shore an' sets mullin' over her 
thoughts is John Turner to the core. I could no more 
do it than I could fly ! Why, I can think every thought 
I ever had in half an hour," concluded Martha with 
spirit. " After that I'd only be chewin' the same old 
cuds over again." 



304 GRANITE AND CLAY 

In the meantime Penelope, the unconscious subject of 
this speculation, sat with her knees locked within the clasp 
of her pretty arms where her favorite silvered fish house 
etched its clear shadow on the pallid sands of the beach. 
The sun flooding the sky had transformed into a radiant 
fabric the light morning mist and through its gauzy veil 
the surface of the sea, tenanted by a single schooner, was 
visible. A mysterious thing it seemed, drifting lazily 
along amid the billowing clouds of its canvas, a poem 
whose grace was a beauty to dream about. How gently 
it rose and dipped with the breathing tide. Toward what 
haven was its rudder bent, and what was the freight that 
weighted its deep-nestling hull into the trough of the 
waves? 

For a long time Penelope sat letting her fancy travel its 
wake as, like a giant bird, it skimmed the ocean's jade 
breast. Then her reverie was put to rout by the approach 
of a man who came swinging along the strand. There 
was no mistaking that figure, and as she recognized it 
her heart gave a great tumultuous leap of happiness. 
She dared neither move nor speak lest the vision vanish 
and prove itself to be only a mirage as ephemeral as the 
eerie haze hovering over the water. 

That it was no phantom, however, was immediately 
proved for in another moment Gordon Hamilton had 
flashed her a smile and taken his place beside her in the 
cool shade of the fish house. 

" Penelope ! ' he whispered, seizing her hands. " Pe- 
nelope ! You're not surprised to see me, dearest. You 
knew I would come." He drew her unresisting form into 
the shelter of his arm. ' I was up with the dawn that 
another day might not pass before I had told you how 
much I love and need you. Come back home to me, 
Penelope. The old house is gloomy as a prison since you 
left it. All the sunshine has gone out of it. I never 



A DAY DREAM 305 

dreamed I could miss you so! I want you for my wife, 
Penelope. Come back to me! Will you come?' 

For a moment the girl did not answer. The rush of 
joy that overwhelmed her made her tremble. 

"Don't you love me, Penelope?' pleaded Hamilton, 
instantly alarmed. 

At the words she slowly turned her head toward him, 
letting him look into her great wondering eyes ; then with 
a burning blush she buried her face on his breast. 

" I shall not be selfish with you, sweetheart," hurried 
on the man, his sentences coming swiftly. ' I do not 
mean to wall you up in my home, make a slave of you, 
and cut you off from the career that lies ahead of you. 
YOU shall live your own life ' 

" My life? " she interrupted. 

" Your real life, I mean." 

With a gesture exquisite with tenderness she raised 
her head and placed both her hands in his : 

" My real life is with you," said she softly. * I do 
fcot want any other." 



FINIS 



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Fur Bringers, The. By Hulbert Footner. 

Further Adventures of Jimxnie Dale. By Frank L. Packard 

Ge? Your Man. By Ethel and James Dorrance. 

Girl in the Mirror, The. By Elizabeth Jordat*. 

Giirl of O. K. Valley, The. By Robert Watson. 

Girl of the Blue Ridge, A. By Payne Erskine. 

Girl from Keller's, The. By Harold Bindlosa. 

Girl Philippa, The. By Robert W. Chambers 

Girls at His Billet, The. By Berta Ruck. 

Glory Rides the Range. By Ethel and James Eorrance. 

Gloved Hand, The. By Burton E. Stevenson. 

God's Country and the Woman. By James Oliver CurwooA 

God's Good Man. By Marie Corelli. 

Going Some. By Rex Beach. 

Gold Girl, The. By James B. Hen'dryx. 

Golden 5ontfm, The. By Sax Rohmef. 



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Golden Slipper, The. By Anna Katharine Green. 

Golden Woman, The. By Ridgwell Cullum. 

Good References. By E. J. Rath. 

Gorgeous Girl, The. By Nalbro Bartley. 

Gray Angels, The. By Nalbro Bartley. 

Great Impersonation, The. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

Greater Love Hath No Man. By Frank L. Packard. 

Green Eyes of Bast, The. By Sax Rohmer. 

Greyfriars Bobby. By Eleanor Atkinson. 

Gun Brand, The. By James B. Hendryx. 

Hand of Fu-Manchu, The. By Sax Rohmer. 

Happy House. By Baroness Von Hutten. 

Harbor Road, The, By Sara Ware Bassett. 

Havoc. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

Heart of the Desert, The. By Honore Willsie. 

Heart of the Hills, The. By John Fox, Jr. 

Heart of the Sunset. By Rex Beach. 

Heart of Thunder Mountain, The. By Edfrid A. Bingham. 

Heart of Unaga, The. By Ridgwell Cullum. 

Hidden Children, The. By Robert W. Chambers. 

Hidden Trails. By William Patterson White. 

Highflyers, The. By Clarence B. Kelland. 

Hillman, The. By E. Phillips Oppenheim, 

Hills of Refuge, The. By Will N. Harben, 

His Last Bow. By A. Conan Doyle. 

His Official Fiancee. By Berta Ruck. 

Honor of the Big Snows. By James Oliver Curwood. 

Hopalong Cassidy. By Clarence E. Mulford. 

Hound from the North, The. By Ridgwell Cullum. 

House of the Whispering Pines, The. By Anna Katharine 

Green. 

Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker. By S. Weir Mitchell, M.D. 
Humoresque. By Fannie Hurst. 

I Conquered. By Harold Titus. 
Illustrious Prince, The. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 
In Another Girl's Shoes. By Berta Ruck. 
Indifference of Juliet, The. By Grace S. Richmond. 
Inez. (Ill, Ed.) By Augusta J. Evans. 



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Infelice. By Augusfe Evans Wilson. 

Initials Only. By Anna Katharine Green. 

Inner Law, The. By Will N. Harben. 

Innocent. By Marie Corelli. 

In Red and Gold. By Samuel Merwin. 

Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu, The. By Sax Rohmer. 

In the Brooding Wild. By Ridgwell Cullum. 

Intriguers, The. By William Le Queux. 

Iron Furrow, The. By George C. Shedd. 

Iron Trail, The. By Rex Beach. 

Iron Woman, The. By Margaret Ddand. 

IshmaeL (111.) By Mrs. Southworth. 

Island of Surprise. By Cyrus Townsend Brady. 

I Spy. By Natalie Sumner Linclon. 

It Pays to Smile. By Nina Wilcox Putnam. 

I've Married Marjorie. By Margaret Widdemer. 

Jean of the Lazy A. By B. M. Bower. 

Jeanne of the Marshes. By E. Phillips OppenheinL 

Jennie Gerhardt. By Theodore Dreiser. 

Johnny Nelson. By Clarence E. Mulford. 

Judgment House, The. By Gilbert Parker. 

Keeper of the Door, The. By Ethel M. Dell. 

Keith of the Border. By Randall Parrish. 

Kent Knowles: Quahaug. By Joseph C. Lincoln. 

Kingdom of the Blind, The. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

King Spruce. By Holman Day. 

Knave of Diamonds, The. By Ethel M. Dell. 

La Chance Mine Mystery, The. "By S. Carleton. 
Lady Doc, The. By Caroline Eockhart. 
Land-Girl's Love Story, A. By Berta Ruck. 
Land of Strong Men, The. By A. M. Chisholm. 
Last Straw, The. By Harold Titus. 
Last Trail The. By Zane Grey. 
Laughing Bill Hyde. By Rex Beach. 
Laughing Girl, The. By Robert W. Chamber*. 
Law Breakers, The. By Ridgrwell Cullum. 
Law of the Gun, The. By Ridgwell 'Cullum.